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  • Author or Editor: Carl H. Snyderman x
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Paul A. Gardner, Daniel M. Prevedello, Amin B. Kassam, Carl H. Snyderman, Ricardo L. Carrau and Arlan H. Mintz

✓Craniopharyngiomas have always been an extremely challenging type of tumor to treat. The transsphenoidal route has been used for resection of these lesions since its introduction. The authors present a historical review of the literature from the introduction of the endonasal route for resection of craniopharyngiomas until the present. Abandoned early due to technological limitations, this approach has been expanded both in its application and in its anatomical boundaries with subsequent progressive improvements in outcomes. This expansion has coincided with advances in visualization devices, imaging guidance techniques, and anatomical understanding. The progression from the use of headlights, to microscopy, to endoscopy and fluoroscopy, and finally to modern intraoperative magnetic resonance–guided techniques, combined with collaboration between otolaryngologists and neurosurgeons, has provided the framework for the development of current techniques for the resection of sellar and suprasellar craniopharyngiomas.

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Amin B. Kassam, Paul A. Gardner, Carl H. Snyderman, Ricardo L. Carrau, Arlan H. Mintz and Daniel M. Prevedello

Object

Craniopharyngiomas are notoriously difficult to treat. Surgeons must weigh the risks of aggressive resection against the long-term challenges of recurrence. Because of their parasellar location, often extending well beyond the sella, these tumors challenge vision and pituitary and hypothalamic function. New techniques are needed to improve outcomes in patients with these tumors while decreasing treatment morbidity. An endoscopic expanded endonasal approach (EEA) is one such technique that warrants understanding and evaluation. The authors explain the techniques and approach used for the endoscopic endonasal resection of suprasellar craniopharyngiomas and introduce a tumor classification scheme.

Methods

The techniques and approach used for the endoscopic, endonasal resection of suprasellar craniopharyngiomas is explained, including the introduction of a tumor classification scheme. This scheme is helpful for understanding both the appropriate expanded approach as well as relevant involved anatomy.

Results

The classification scheme divides tumors according to their suprasellar extension: Type I is preinfundibular; Type II is transinfundibular (extending into the stalk); Type III is retroinfundibular, extending behind the gland and stalk, and has 2 subdivisions (IIIa, extending into the third ventricle; and IIIb, extending into the interpeduncular cistern); and Type IV is isolated to the third ventricle and/or optic recess and is not accessible via an endonasal approach.

Conclusions

The endoscopic EEA requires a thorough understanding of both sinus and skull base anatomy. Moreover, in its application for craniopharyngiomas, an understanding of tumor growth and extension with respect to the optic chiasm and infundibulum is critical to safely approach the lesion via an endonasal route.

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Paul A. Gardner, Amin B. Kassam, Carl H. Snyderman, Ricardo L. Carrau, Arlan H. Mintz, Steven Grahovac and Susan Stefko

Object

Craniopharyngiomas are challenging tumors that most frequently occur in the sellar or suprasellar regions. Microscopic transsphenoidal resections with various extensions and variations have been performed with good results. The addition of the endoscope as well as the further expansion of the standard and extended transsphenoidal approaches has not been well evaluated for the treatment of this pathological entity.

Methods

The authors performed a retrospective review of all patients who underwent a purely endoscopic, expanded endonasal approach (EEA) for the resection of craniopharyngiomas at their institution between June 1999 and February 2006. Endocrine and ophthalmological outcomes, extent of resection, and complications were evaluated.

Results

Sixteen patients underwent endoscopic EEA for the resection of craniopharyngiomas. Five patients (31%) presented with recurrent disease. Complete resection was planned in 11 of the 16 patients. Three elderly patients with vision loss underwent planned debulking, 1 patient with vision loss and a moderate-sized tumor had express wishes for debulking, and 1 patient had a separate, third ventricular nodule that was not resected. Of those in whom complete resection was planned, 91% underwent near-total (2/11) or gross-total (8/11) resection. No patient who underwent gross-total resection suffered a recurrence. The mean follow-up period was 34 months. Of the 14 patients who presented with vision loss, 93% had improvement or complete recovery and 1 patient's condition remained stable. No patient experienced visual worsening. Eighteen percent of patients (without preexisting hypopituitarism) developed panhypopituitarism and 8% developed permanent diabetes insipidus. There were no cases of new obesity. The postoperative cere-brospinal fluid leak rate was 58%. All leaks were resolved, and there were no cases of bacterial meningitis. There was 1 vascular injury (posterior cerebral artery perforator branch) resulting in the only new neurological deficit. No patient died.

Conclusions

Endoscopic EEA for the resection of craniopharyngiomas provides acceptable results and holds the potential to improve outcomes.

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Amin B. Kassam, Allan D. Vescan, Ricardo L. Carrau, Daniel M. Prevedello, Paul Gardner, Arlan H. Mintz, Carl H. Snyderman and Albert L. Rhoton Jr.

✓ The purpose of this study was to describe the technique used to safely identify the petrous carotid artery during expanded endonasal approaches to the skull base. A series of 20 cadaveric studies was undertaken to isolate the vidian artery and nerve and to use them as landmarks to the petrous internal carotid artery (ICA). Twenty-five consecutive paraclival endoscopic cases were also reviewed to determine the consistency of the vidian artery in vivo as an intraoperative landmark to the ICA. These data were then correlated with results from a separate study in which computed tomography scans from 44 patients were evaluated to delineate the course of the vidian canal and its relationship to the petrous ICA. In all 20 cadaveric dissections and all 25 surgical cases, the vidian artery was consistently identified and could be reliably used as a landmark to the ICA. The correlation between anatomical and clinical data in this paper supports the consistent use of the vidian artery as an important landmark to the petrous ICA.