Whereas most pituitary adenomas are removable via the transsphenoidal approach, certain cases, such as dumbbell-shaped or suprasellar adenomas and recurrent and/or fibrous tumors, remain difficult to treat. The authors present their experience with the extended endoscopic endonasal approach to the suprasellar area in managing this subset of tumors, which are classically treated through a transcranial route.
From June 1997 to December 2008, 615 patients underwent endoscopic endonasal transsphenoidal surgery for pituitary adenomas in the Department of Neurosurgery of the Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II. Of this group, 20 patients with pituitary adenomas needed an extended endoscopic endonasal transtuberculum/transplanum approach for tumor removal. Two surgical corridors were used during the transsphenoidal approach: 1) the conventional endosellar extraarachnoidal corridor and 2) a suprasellar transarachnoidal corridor.
The extent of resection was gross total in 12 (60%) of the 20 patients, near total in 4 (20%), subtotal in 3 (15%), and partial in 1 (5%). Postoperative CSF leakage occurred in 1 patient. One patient experienced worsening of temporal hemianopsia.
The authors' initial results with the extended endoscopic approach to the suprasellar area for selected pituitary adenomas are promising and may justify a widening of the current classical indications for transsphenoidal surgery.