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Complications associated with microscopic and endoscopic transsphenoidal pituitary surgery: experience of 1153 consecutive cases treated at a single tertiary care pituitary center

Matthew S. Agam, Michelle A. Wedemeyer, Bozena Wrobel, Martin H. Weiss, John D. Carmichael, and Gabriel Zada

OBJECTIVE

Pituitary adenomas (PAs) are benign neoplasms that are frequently encountered during workup for endocrinopathy, headache, or visual loss. Transsphenoidal surgery remains the first-line approach for PA resection. The authors retrospectively assessed complication rates associated with transsphenoidal PA resection from an institutional database.

METHODS

A retrospective analysis of 1153 consecutive transsphenoidal pituitary adenoma resections performed at the Keck Hospital of USC between November 1992 and March 2017 was conducted. Microscopic transsphenoidal resection was performed in 85.3% of cases, and endoscopic transsphenoidal resection was performed in 14.7%. Analysis of perioperative complications and patient and tumor risk factors was conducted.

RESULTS

The overall median hospital stay was 3 days. There was 1 perioperative death (0.1%). Surgical complications included postoperative cerebrospinal fluid leak (2.6%), epistaxis (1.1%), postoperative hematoma (1.1%), meningitis (1.0%), cranial nerve paresis (0.8%), hydrocephalus (0.8%), vision loss (0.6%), stroke (0.3%), abdominal hematoma or infection (0.2%), carotid artery injury (0.1%), and vegetative state (0.2%). Perioperative medical complications included bacteremia/sepsis (0.5%), pneumonia (0.3%), myocardial infarction (0.3%), and deep venous thrombosis/pulmonary embolism (0.1%). Endocrine complications were the most frequent, including transient diabetes insipidus (4.3%), symptomatic hyponatremia (4.2%), new hypopituitarism (any axis) (3.6%), permanent diabetes insipidus (0.3%), and adrenal insufficiency (0.2%). There were no significant differences between microscopic and endoscopic approaches with regard to surgical complications (6.4% vs 8.8%, p = 0.247) or endocrine complications (11.4 vs 11.8%, p = 0.888). Risk factors for surgical complications included prior transsphenoidal surgery (11.4% vs 6.8%, p = 0.025), preoperative vision loss (10.3% vs 6.8%, p = 0.002), and presence of PA invasion on MRI (8.5% vs 4.4%, p = 0.007).

CONCLUSIONS

In this single tertiary center study assessing complications associated with transsphenoidal PA resection, the rate of death or major disability was 0.26%. Risk factors for complications included prior surgical treatment and PA invasion. No differences in complication rates between endoscopic and microscopic surgery were observed. When performed at experienced pituitary centers, transsphenoidal surgery for PAs may be performed with a high degree of safety.

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Experience in the surgical management of 82 symptomatic herniated thoracic discs and review of the literature

Charles B. Stillerman, Thomas C. Chen, William T. Couldwell, Wei Zhang, and Martin H. Weiss

Object. The authors aimed to develop management strategies for the treatment of herniated thoracic discs and to define indications for selection of surgical approaches. Symptomatic thoracic discs requiring surgery are rare. Between 1971 and 1995, 71 patients with 82 herniated thoracic discs were surgically treated by the authors. The treated group included 34 men and 37 women whose ages ranged from 19 to 75 years, with a mean age of 48 years. The most common sites of disc herniation requiring surgery were from T-8 to T-11. Evidence of antecedent trauma was present in 37% of the patients. Preoperative symptoms included pain (localized, axial, or radicular) in 54 (76%) of the 71 patients, evidence of myelopathy, that is, motor impairment in 43 (61%), hyperreflexia and spasticity in 41 (58%), sensory impairment in 43 (61%), and bladder dysfunction in 17 (24%).

Methods. Radiological diagnosis for the patients in this series was accomplished by means of myelography, computerized tomography myelography, or magnetic resonance imaging. Classification of the disc location into two groups reveals that 94% were centrolateral and 6% were lateral. Evidence of calcification was present in 65% of patients, and in 7% intradural extension was noted at surgery. Ten patients (14%) were found to have multiple herniations. Four surgical approaches were used for the removal of these 82 disc herniations: transthoracic in 49 (60%), transfacet pedicle-sparing in 23 (28%), lateral extracavitary in eight (10%), and transpedicular in two (2%). Postoperative evaluation revealed improvement or resolution of pain in 47 (87%) of 54, hyperreflexia and spasticity in 39 (95%) of 41, sensory changes in 36 (84%) of 43, bowel/bladder dysfunction in 13 (76%) of 17, and motor impairment in 25 (58%) of 43. Complications occurred in a total of 12 (14.6%) of 82 discs treated surgically. Major complications were seen in three patients and included perioperative death from cardiopulmonary compromise, instability requiring further surgery, and an increase in the severity of a preoperative paraparesis.

Conclusions. Review of this series, with the attendant complications, together with evaluation of several contemporary thoracic disc series, has facilitated the authors' decision-making process when considering the comprehensive management of these patients, including the selection of a surgical approach.

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Surgical considerations in treatment of intraventricular cysticercosis

An analysis of 45 cases

Michael L. J. Apuzzo, William R. Dobkin, Chi-Shing Zee, James C. Chan, Steven L. Giannotta, and Martin H. Weiss

✓ Infestations of the human brain with the larval stage of Taenia solium, once an infrequent diagnosis in the United States, is now a more frequently encountered clinical entity especially in population centers with high immigrant flux. During a recent 5-year period 45 cases of intraventricular cysticercosis have been evaluated and treated. Modes of involvement included isolated cyst formation, ependymitis, or combinations of both. Evidence of associated parenchymatous involvement was present in 20% of cases. Sites of infestation included the lateral ventricle (five cases), third ventricle (12 cases), Sylvian aqueduct (four cases), and fourth ventricle (24 cases). Mean post-therapy follow-up periods for this series exceed 36 months. This experience indicates that direct excision is the treatment of choice for ventricular cystic lesions, but that management, operative planning, and expectations should be influenced by considerations of: 1) the potential for acute clinical deterioration (38%); 2) the potential for cyst migration; 3) attendant ependymitis, defined by computerized tomography or verified at surgery; 4) the potential for increase in cyst volume with local mass effect; 5) selection and institution of corridors of surgical access that establish alternative routes of cerebrospinal fluid flow; and 6) the possibility of cyst excision by a stereotaxic endoscopic procedure.

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Inhibition of cellular growth and induction of apoptosis in pituitary adenoma cell lines by the protein kinase C inhibitor hypericin: potential therapeutic application

H. Bruce Hamilton, David R. Hinton, Ronald E. Law, Rayudu Gopalakrishna, Yu Zhuang Su, Zhen-Hai Chen, Martin H. Weiss, and William T. Couldwell

✓ Protein kinase C (PKC) is an enzyme involved in the regulation of cellular growth, proliferation, and differentiation in a number of tissues including the anterior pituitary, in which it is also believed to play a role in hormone secretion. Protein kinase C activity and expression have been found to be greater in adenomatous pituitary cells than in normal human and rat pituitary cells and higher in invasive pituitary tumor cells than in noninvasive ones. Inhibition of PKC activity has been shown in a variety of tumor cells to inhibit growth in a dose-related fashion. The purpose of the current study was to determine whether hypericin, a potent inhibitor of PKC activity that may be administered clinically, alters the growth and proliferation in established pituitary adenoma lines and to determine if inhibition of PKC activity induces apoptosis, as reported in some other tumor cell types. Two established pituitary adenoma cell lines, AtT-20 and GH4C1, were treated with hypericin in tissue culture for defined periods following passage. Inhibition of growth was found to be dose dependent in all three cell lines in low micromolar concentrations of hypericin, as determined by viable cell counts, methylthiotetrazole assay, and [3H]thymidine uptake studies. Concentrations of hypericin as low as 100 nM also induced apoptosis in these established lines, whereas treatment of normal human fibroblasts with a concentration of 10 µM failed to induce apoptosis. The potential use of hypericin in the therapy of pituitary adenomas warrants additional in vitro investigations with the aim of later moving toward therapeutic trials in selected patients in whom surgical or medical therapy has failed.

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Attenuation of brain injury and reduction of neuron-specific enolase by nicardipine in systemic circulation following focal ischemia and reperfusion in a rat model

Mamoru Kittaka, Steven L. Giannotta, Vladimir Zelman, Jorge D. Correale, Christopher M. DeGiorgio, Martin H. Weiss, and Berislav V. Zlokovic

✓ reversible middle cerebral artery occlusion was performed in rats to determine whether nicardipine, a dihydropyridine voltage-sensitive Ca++ channel (VSCC) antagonist, exerts neuroprotective effects when administered 10 minutes following an ischemic insult, and if it does, whether this is due to its vasodilatory action and effect on cerebral blood flow (CBF) or to direct blockade of Ca++ entry into ischemic brain cells. An increase in the intracellular calcium, [Ca++]i, plays a major role in neuronal injury during cerebral ischemia. Although a large amount of Ca++ enters neurons through the VSCC during ischemia, inconsistent neuroprotective effects have been reported with the antagonists of the VSCC. An intraperitoneal injection of nicardipine (1.2 mg/kg) was administered to rats 10 minutes after the onset of ischemia, and 8, 16, and 24 hours after occlusion. Cortical CBF was determined by laser-Doppler flowmetry. Neurological and neuropathological examinations were performed after 72 hours. Neuron-specific enolase, a specific marker for the incidence of neuronal injury, was measured in plasma. The CBF and other physiological parameters were not affected by nicardipine during occlusion or reperfusion. However, nicardipine treatment significantly improved motor neurological outcome by 29%, and the infarction and edema volume in the pallium as well as the edema volume in the striatum were significantly reduced by 27%, 37%, and 52%, respectively. Nicardipine also reduced the neuron-specific enolase plasma levels by 50%, 42%, and 59% at 24, 48, and 72 hours after the occlusion, respectively. It is concluded that nicardipine may attenuate focal ischemic brain injury by exerting direct neuroprotective and antiedematous effects that do not depend on CBF.

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Neuroprotective effects of nicardipine in a rat model of ischemia and reperfusion

Mamoru Kittaka, Steven L. Giannotta, Vladimir Zelman, Jorge D. Correale, Christopher M. DeGiorgio, Martin H. Weiss, and Berislav V. Zlokovic

A reversible middle cerebral artery occlusion was performed in rats to determine whether nicardipine, a dihydropyridine voltage-sensitive Ca++ channel (VSCC) antagonist, exerts neuroprotective effects when administered 10 minutes following an ischemic insult, and if it does, whether this is due to its vasodilatory action and effect on cerebral blood flow (CBF) or to direct blockade of Ca++ entry into ischemic brain cells. An increase in the intracellular calcium, [Ca++]i, plays a major role in neuronal injury during cerebral ischemia. Although a large amount of Ca++ enters neurons through the VSCC during ischemia, inconsistent neuroprotective effects have been reported with the antagonists of the VSCC. An intraperitoneal injection of nicardipine (1.2 mg/kg) was administered to rats at 10 minutes after the onset of ischemia, and 8, 16, and 24 hours after occlusion. Cortical CBF was determined by laser-Doppler flowmetry. Neurological and neuropathological examinations were performed after 72 hours. Neuron-specific enolase, a specific marker for the incidence of neuronal injury, was measured in plasma. The CBF in the ischemic core and periphery, as well as brain temperature and physiological parameters, were not affected by nicardipine during occlusion or reperfusion. However, nicardipine treatment significantly improved motor neurological outcome by 32%, and the infarction and edema volume in the pallium as well as the edema volume in the striatum were significantly reduced by 28%, 37%, and 53%, respectively. Nicardipine also significantly reduced the neuron-specific enolase plasma levels by 50%, 42%, and 59% at 24, 48, and 72 hours after the occlusion, respectively. It is concluded that nicardipine may attenuate focal ischemic brain injury by exerting direct neuroprotective and antiedematous effects that do not depend on CBF.

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Thoracic Disc

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Treatment of unresectable meningiomas with the antiprogesterone agent mifepristone

Steven M. Grunberg, Martin H. Weiss, Irving M. Spitz, Jamshid Ahmadi, Alfredo Sadun, Christy A. Russell, Lois Lucci, and Lani L. Stevenson

✓ The possibility that meningioma growth may be related to female sex hormone levels is suggested by several lines of evidence. Meningiomas are twice as common in women as in men, have been observed to wax and wane with pregnancy, and are positively associated with breast cancer. A physiological explanation for these phenomena is provided by the finding of steroid hormone receptors in meningiomas. However, unlike breast cancer, meningiomas are much more commonly positive for progesterone receptors than for estrogen receptors.

The authors initiated a study on long-term oral therapy of unresectable meningiomas with the antiprogesterone mifepristone (RU486). Fourteen patients received mifepristone in daily doses of 200 mg for periods ranging from 2 to 31+ months (≥ 6 months in 12 patients). Five patients have shown signs of objective response (reduced tumor measurement on computerized tomography scan or magnetic resonance image, or improved visual field examination). Three have also experienced subjective improvement (improved extraocular muscle function or relief from headache). The side effects of long-term mifepristone therapy have been mild. Fatigue was noted in 11 of the 14 patients. Other side effects included hot flashes in five patients, gynecomastia in three, partial alopecia in two, and cessation of menses in two. Long-term therapy with mifepristone is a new therapeutic option that may have efficacy in cases of unresectable benign meningioma.

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Letter to the Editor. Gamma Knife radiosurgery for Cushing’s disease after prior resection

Martin H. Weiss, Gabriel Zada, John D. Carmichael, and William T. Couldwell

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Gamma Knife surgery for Cushing disease

Martin H. Weiss and William T. Couldwell