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Quantification of clival and paraclival exposure in the Le Fort I transmaxillary transpterygoid approach: a microanatomical study

Laboratory investigation

Nicola Boari, Fabio Roberti, Federico Biglioli, Anthony J. Caputy, and Pietro Mortini

Object

The authors describe a modified Le Fort I maxillotomy with medial and posterior antrectomy and removal of the pterygoid plates, aimed at improving the lateral surgical exposure during open transmaxillary surgery for pathological conditions involving the clivus. A cadaveric microanatomical study was conducted to compare the planimetric exposures allowed by the transmaxillary transpterygoid (TMTP) approach and the standard Le Fort I maxillotomy (STM).

Methods

Six cadaveric specimens that had been fixed with glutaraldehyde and injected with latex were dissected to obtain morphometric measurements after both TMTP and STM approaches. The anatomical areas exposed by the surgical approaches were calculated using ImageJ 1.37a software.

Results

As expected, the TMTP approach allowed for a greater surgical exposure, with an incremental area exposed ranging from 4.9 to 7.6 cm2 (mean ± standard deviation 6.4 ± 1.2 cm2, 95% CI 5.4–7.4 cm2). The amount of additional anatomical area visualized, as recorded as a percentage increase after the TMTP approach when compared with the STM approach, ranged from 83 to 109% (mean 99%).

Conclusions

The lateral surgical exposure allowed by the STM approach is limited by the pterygoid plates. The TMTP approach significantly improves the exposure of the anatomical regions lateral to the clivus, allowing access to the pterygopalatine and medial infratemporal fossae. In comparison with the STM, the TMTP approach allows for a surgical exposure that is nearly double. The authors conclude that the TMTP approach provides a significant improvement in the surgical exposure of the lateral paraclival areas, when compared with the STM approach.

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Presurgical treatment with somatostatin analogs in patients with acromegaly: effects on the remission and complication rates

Marco Losa, Pietro Mortini, Laura Urbaz, Paolo Ribotto, Tristana Castrignanò, and Massimo Giovanelli

Object

The question of whether preoperative therapy with somatostatin analogs can improve surgical outcome in acromegaly has not been definitively answered. In this paper, the authors report the effects of preoperative treatment with somatostatin analogs in a large sample of patients with acromegaly.

Methods

Between 1990 and 2003, 399 consecutive patients with acromegaly underwent surgery at the Istituto Scientifico San Raffaele. Thirty-three patients who had previously undergone surgery or radiation treatment, 48 patients treated with somatostatin analogs for fewer than 3 months, and patients who had stopped therapy for too long a time before surgery were excluded from the study. One hundred forty-three patients who had received somatostatin analogs prior to surgery (Group 1) were randomly matched to 143 patients who had never been treated with somatostatin analogs (Group 2). Matching criteria were tumor size and invasiveness into the cavernous sinus. Before surgery, Group 1 patients showed reduction of growth hormone levels to less than 50% of baseline in 64% of cases, but insulin-like growth factor–I was normalized in only 19.5%. Surgical remission occurred in 81 Group 1 patients (56.6%) and in 91 Group 2 patients (63.6%; p = 0.28). No significant difference in the remission rate was observed when cases were analyzed according to tumor size or invasiveness. Logistic regression analysis confirmed that pretreatment with somatostatin analogs was not associated with surgical outcome. Surgical morbidity was mild and similar in Group 1 and Group 2 patients (7 and 5.6%, respectively; p = 0.81). Surgical remission and complication rates in patients with acromegaly who received treatment with somatostatin analogs prior to surgery were not significantly different from those of matched patients who did not receive these agents.

Conclusions

At present, the routine use of presurgical therapy with somatostatin analogs for patients with acromegaly cannot be recommended.

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Radiosurgery and the prevention of regrowth of incompletely removed nonfunctioning pituitary adenomas

Piero Picozzi, Marco Losa, Pietro Mortini, Micol Angela Valle, Alberto Franzin, Luca Attuati, Camillo Ferrari da Passano, and Massimo Giovanelli

Object. The authors studied the efficacy of gamma knife radiosurgery (GKS) in the prevention of regrowth of nonfunctioning pituitary adenomas (NPA).

Methods. One hundred nineteen patients were included in this study and were divided into two groups. All patients had undergone surgery in our department and recurrent or residual adenoma was demonstrated on postoperative MR imaging. Group A consisted of 68 patients who were followed without additional treatment. Group B was composed of 51 patients who received GKS within 1 year after microsurgery. There was no significant demographic difference between the two groups. In Group B the mean margin dose was 16.5 ± 0.3 Gy (range 13–21 Gy). Fifty one and one tenth percent of patients in Group A were recurrence free at 5 years and 89.8% in Group B (p < 0.001). In Group B patients, tumor volume decreased from a baseline value of 2.4 ± 0.2 cm3 to 1.6 ± 0.2 cm3 at last follow up (p < 0.001).

Conclusions. The results of this study suggest that GKS is effective in controlling growth of residual NPA for at least 5 years following initial maximal surgical debulking compared with no radiation therapy. Thus, GKS is recommended after microsurgery when visible tumor can be detected on imaging studies.

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Letter to the Editor. Management of residual nonfunctioning pituitary adenoma: watchful waiting or adjuvant treatment?

Luigi Albano, Marco Losa, Lina Raffaella Barzaghi, and Pietro Mortini

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Acromegaly associated with a granular cell tumor of the neurohypophysis: a clinical and histological study

Case report

Marco Losa, Wolfgang Saeger, Pietro Mortini, Claudio Pandolfi, Maria Rosa Terreni, Gianluca Taccagni, and Massimo Giovanelli

✓ Acromegaly is usually caused by a growth hormone (GH)-secreting pituitary adenoma, and hypersecretion of GH-releasing hormone (GHRH) from a hypothalamic or neuroendocrine tumor accounts for other cases. The authors report on the unusual association of acromegaly with a granular cell tumor of the neurohypophysis.

A 42-year-old woman with a 10-year history of acral enlargement, headache, and menstrual abnormalities was referred to our department for a suspected GH-secreting pituitary adenoma. The patient's basal GH levels were mildly elevated at 4.8 µg/L, were not suppressed in response to an oral glucose tolerance test, and increased paradoxically after administration of thyrotropin-releasing hormone. The patient's insulin-like growth factor—1 (IGF-1) level was elevated at 462 µg/L, whereas a magnetic resonance image of the sella turcica revealed an intra- and suprasellar lesion that was compatible with a diagnosis of pituitary adenoma. A transsphenoidal approach to remove the lesion, which was mainly suprasellar, was successful during a second operative attempt, resulting in the clinical and biochemical regression of the patient's acromegaly. Four months postoperatively, the patient's basal GH level was 0.9 µg/L and her IGF-1 level was 140 µg/L. Histological analysis of the operative specimen demonstrated a granular cell tumor of the neurohypophysis, which when stained proved negative for pituitary hormones and GHRH.

This case represents the first reported association between a granular cell tumor of the neurohypophysis and acromegaly. Granular cell tumor of the neurohypophysis could be added to the restricted list of neoplastic causes of acromegaly secondary to hypersecretion of a GH-releasing substance.

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Letter to the Editor. Management of hyperostotic spheno-orbital meningiomas

Alfio Spina, Nicola Boari, and Pietro Mortini

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Letter to the Editor. Management of hyperostotic spheno-orbital meningiomas

Alfio Spina, Nicola Boari, and Pietro Mortini

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Gamma knife surgery for treatment of residual nonfunctioning pituitary adenomas after surgical debulking

Marco Losa, Micol Valle, Pietro Mortini, Alberto Franzin, Camillo Ferrari da Passano, Marco Cenzato, Stefania Bianchi, Piero Picozzi, and Massimo Giovanelli

Object. Radiation therapy diminishes the risk of recurrence of incompletely removed nonfunctioning pituitary adenoma (NPA). The authors evaluated the efficacy and safety of gamma knife surgery (GKS) in patients with residual NPA following surgical debulking of the tumor.

Methods. Fifty-four patients, 26 men and 28 women, ranging in age from 29 to 72 years underwent gamma knife treatment. Baseline and follow-up studies involved magnetic resonance imaging, hormone evaluation, and neuroophthalmological examination 6 and 12 months after GKS and at yearly intervals thereafter. The mean follow up after GKS was 41.1 ± 3.1 months. Two of 52 patients undergoing follow up had a recurrence 40 and 49 months after GKS. In both of these patients the treated lesion had reduced in size, but a new lesion appeared in the contralateral side of the sella turcica. The recurrence-free interval at 5 years was 88.2% (95% confidence interval 72.6–100%). Tumor volume decreased from a baseline value of 2.3 ± 0.2 to 1.7 ± 0.2 cm3 at the last follow up (p < 0.001). Twenty-two patients (42.3%) had a 20% or greater reduction in tumor volume. The administered radiation dose had been significantly higher in patients who experienced tumor reduction. Visual function and motility did not deteriorate in any patient. New cases of hypogonadism, hypothyroidism, and hypoadrenalism occurred in 12.5, 8.6, and 2.3%, respectively, of assessable patients at risk.

Conclusions. Gamma knife surgery was effective in controlling the growth of residual NPA after previously performed maximal surgical debulking. The major advantage of GKS compared with fractionated radiotherapy seems to be a lower risk of side effects, especially a lower risk of hypopituitarism.

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Gamma Knife radiosurgery for vestibular schwannoma: clinical results at long-term follow-up in a series of 379 patients

Clinical article

Nicola Boari, Michele Bailo, Filippo Gagliardi, Alberto Franzin, Marco Gemma, Antonella del Vecchio, Angelo Bolognesi, Piero Picozzi, and Pietro Mortini

Object

Since the 1990s, Gamma Knife radiosurgery (GKRS) has become the first-line treatment option for small- to medium-size vestibular schwannomas (VSs), especially in patients without mass effect–related symptoms and with functional hearing. The aim of this study was to assess the safety and efficacy of GKRS, in terms of tumor control, hearing preservation, and complications, in a series of 379 consecutive patients treated for VS.

Methods

Of 523 patients treated at the authors' institution for VS between 2001 and 2010, the authors included 379 who underwent GKRS as the primary treatment. These patients were not affected by Type 2 neurofibromatosis and had clinical follow-up of at least 36 months. Clinical follow-up (mean and median 75.7 and 69.5 months, respectively) was performed for all patients, whereas audiometric and quantitative radiological follow-up examinations were obtained for only 153 and 219 patients, respectively. The patients' ages ranged from 23 to 85 years (mean 59 years). The mean tumor volume was 1.94 ± 2.2 cm3 (median 1.2 cm3, range 0.013–14.3 cm3), and the median margin dose was 13 Gy (range 11–15 Gy). Parameters considered as determinants of the clinical outcome were long-term tumor control, hearing preservation, and complications. A statistical analysis was performed to correlate clinical outcomes with the radiological features of the tumor, dose-planning parameters, and patient characteristics.

Results

Control of the tumor with GKRS was achieved in 97.1% of the patients. In 82.7% of the patients, the tumor volume had decreased at the last follow-up, with a mean relative reduction of 34.1%. The rate of complications was very low, with most consisting of a transient worsening of preexisting symptoms. Patients who had vertigo, balance disorders, or facial or trigeminal impairment usually experienced a complete or at least significant symptom relief after treatment. However, no significant improvement was observed in patients previously reporting tinnitus. The overall rate of preservation of functional hearing at the long-term follow-up was 49%; in patients with hearing classified as Gardner-Robertson (GR) Class I, this value was 71% and reached 93% among cases of GR Class I hearing in patients younger than 55 years.

Conclusions

Gamma Knife radiosurgery is a safe and effective treatment for VS, achieving tumor control in 97.1% of cases and resulting in a very low morbidity rate. Younger GR Class I patients had a significantly higher probability of retaining functional hearing even at the 10-year follow-up; for this reason, the time between symptom onset, diagnosis, and treatment should be shortened to achieve better outcomes in functional hearing preservation.

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Early results of surgery in patients with nonfunctioning pituitary adenoma and analysis of the risk of tumor recurrence

Marco Losa, Pietro Mortini, Raffaella Barzaghi, Paolo Ribotto, Maria Rosa Terreni, Stefania Bianchi Marzoli, Sandra Pieralli, and Massimo Giovanelli

Object

Nonfunctioning pituitary adenomas (NFPAs) are benign tumors of the pituitary gland that typically cause visual and/or hormonal dysfunction. Surgery is the treatment of choice, but patients remain at risk for tumor recurrence for several years afterwards. The authors evaluate the early results of surgery and the long-term risk of tumor recurrence in patients with NFPAs.

Methods

Between 1990 and 2005, 491 previously untreated patients with NFPA underwent surgery at the Università Vita-Salute. Determinations of recurrence or growth of the residual tumor tissue during the follow-up period were based on neuroradiological criteria.

Results

Residual tumor after surgery was detected in 173 patients (36.4%). Multivariate analysis showed that invasion of the cavernous sinus, maximum tumor diameter, and absence of tumor apoplexy were associated with an unfavorable surgical outcome. At least 2 sets of follow-up neuroimaging studies were obtained in 436 patients (median follow-up 53 months). Tumors recurred in 83 patients (19.0%). When tumor removal appeared complete, younger age at surgery was associated with a risk of tumor recurrence. In patients with incomplete tumor removal, adjunctive postoperative radiotherapy had a marked protective effect against growth of residual tumor.

Conclusions

Complete surgical removal of NFPAs can be safely achieved in > 50% of cases. Visual symptoms and, less frequently, pituitary function may improve after surgery. However, tumor can recur in patients after apparently complete surgical removal. In patients with incomplete tumor removal, radiation therapy is the most effective adjuvant therapy for preventing residual tumor growth.