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Long-term surgical outcomes following transsphenoidal surgery in patients with Rathke’s cleft cysts

Michelle Lin, Michelle A. Wedemeyer, Daniel Bradley, Daniel A. Donoho, Vance L. Fredrickson, Martin H. Weiss, John D. Carmichael, and Gabriel Zada


Rathke’s cleft cysts (RCCs) are benign epithelial lesions of the sellar region typically treated via a transsphenoidal approach with cyst fenestration and drainage. At present, there is limited evidence to guide patient selection for operative treatment. Furthermore, there is minimal literature describing factors contributing to cyst recurrence.


The authors conducted a retrospective analysis of 109 consecutive cases of pathology-confirmed RCCs treated via a transsphenoidal approach at a single center from 1995 to 2016. The majority of cases (86.2%) involved cyst fenestration, drainage, and partial wall resection. Long-term outcomes were analyzed.


A total of 109 surgeries in 100 patients were included, with a mean follow-up duration of 67 months (range 3–220 months). The mean patient age was 44.6 years (range 12–82 years), and 73% were women. The mean maximal cyst diameter was 14.7 mm. Eighty-eight cases (80.7%) were primary operations, and 21 (19.3%) were reoperations. Intraoperative CSF leak repair was performed in 53% of cases and was more common in reoperation cases (71% vs 48%, p < 0.001). There were no new neurological deficits or perioperative deaths. Two patients (1.8%) developed postoperative CSF leaks. Transient diabetes insipidus (DI) developed in 24 cases (22%) and permanent DI developed in 6 (5.5%). Seven cases (6.4%) developed delayed postoperative hyponatremia. Of the 66 patients with preoperative headache, 27 (44.3%) of 61 reported postoperative improvement and 31 (50.8%) reported no change. Of 31 patients with preoperative vision loss, 13 (48.1%) reported subjective improvement and 12 (44.4%) reported unchanged vision. Initial postoperative MRI showed a residual cyst in 25% of cases and no evidence of RCC in 75% of cases. Imaging revealed evidence of RCC recurrence or progression in 29 cases (26.6%), with an average latency of 28.8 months. Of these, only 10 (9.2% of the total 109 cases) were symptomatic and underwent reoperation.


Transsphenoidal fenestration and drainage of RCCs is a safe and effective intervention for symptomatic lesions, with many patients experiencing improvement of headaches and vision. RCCs show an appreciable (although usually asymptomatic) recurrence rate, thereby mandating serial follow-up. Despite this, full RCC excision is typically not recommended due to risk of hypopituitarism, DI, and CSF leaks.

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Thoracic Disc

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Postoperative Gamma Knife surgery for benign meningiomas of the cranial base

Laurence Davidson, Dawn Fishback, Jonathan J. Russin, Martin H. Weiss, Cheng Yu, Paul G. Pagnini, Vladimir Zelman, Michael L. J. Apuzzo, and Steven L. Giannotta


The standard treatment for meningiomas is complete resection, but the proximity of skull base meningiomas to important neurovascular structures makes complete excision of the lesion difficult or impossible. The authors analyzed the mid- and long-term results obtained in patients treated with postresection Gamma Knife surgery (GKS) for residual or recurrent benign meningiomas of the cranial base.


Thirty-six patients with residual or recurrent benign meningiomas of the skull base following one or more surgical procedures underwent GKS. There were 31 women and five men, ranging in age from 22 to 73 years. The median tumor volume was 4.1 ml (range 0.8–20 ml) and the median radiation dose to the tumor margin was 16 Gy (range 15–16 Gy).


Patients were followed for a median of 81 months (range 30–141 months) after GKS. At the end of the follow-up period, overall neurological improvement was observed in 16 patients (44.4%), whereas the condition in 20 patients (55.6%) was unchanged. One patient suffered transient cerebral edema 6 months after GKS. Based on imaging documentation, a partial response was seen in five patients (13.9%), the disease remained stable in 30 patients (83.3%), and in one patient (2.8%) there was an increase in tumor size. The actuarial progression-free survival rate was 100% at 5 years and 94.7% at 10 years.


Gamma Knife surgery was shown to be an excellent adjunct to resection because of its durable rate of tumor control and low toxicity. It should be initially considered along with surgery for the treatment of complex skull base meningiomas.

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Abstracts of the 2017 AANS/CNS Joint Section on Disorders of the Spine and Peripheral Nerves Las Vegas, Nevada • March 8–11, 2017

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2017 AANS Annual Scientific Meeting Los Angeles, CA • April 22–26, 2017

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Oral Presentations 2016 AANS Annual Scientific Meeting Chicago, IL • April 30–May 4, 2016

Published online April 1, 2016; DOI: 10.3171/2016.4.JNS.AANS2016abstracts

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Oral Presentations 2015 AANS Annual Scientific Meeting Washington, DC • May 2–6, 2015

Published online August 1, 2015; DOI: 10.3171/2015.8.JNS.AANS2015abstracts