✓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.
Paul A. Gardner, Daniel M. Prevedello, Amin B. Kassam, Carl H. Snyderman, Ricardo L. Carrau and Arlan H. Mintz
Amin B. Kassam, Paul A. Gardner, Arlan Mintz, Carl H. Snyderman, Ricardo L. Carrau and Michael Horowitz
✓Paraclinoidal aneurysms, especially superior hypophyseal artery (SHA) aneurysms (with medial projection), can be challenging to access via a pterional craniotomy and damage to the optic nerve can occur during surgery. The authors have previously reported on endonasal clipping and aneurysmorrhaphy of a vertebral artery aneurysm following proximal and distal protection of the aneurysm using partial coil embolization. To the best of the authors' knowledge no unprotected aneurysm has been clipped using an endonasal approach.
The 56-year-old woman in this report was found to have two unruptured aneurysms: an anterior communicating artery (ACoA) aneurysm and an SHA aneurysm. An endoscopic endonasal, transplanar–transsellar approach was used to successfully clip the SHA aneurysm. Proximal and distal control was obtained endonasally prior to successful clip occlusion of the aneurysm. The ACoA aneurysm was clipped via a pterional craniotomy during the same anesthetic session. This report shows that it is possible to successfully clip a medially projecting, paraclinoidal aneurysm using an endonasal approach. Such cases must be chosen with extreme caution and only performed by surgeons with significant experience with both endoscopic endonasal approaches and neurovascular surgery.
Amin B. Kassam, Paul A. Gardner, Carl H. Snyderman, Ricardo L. Carrau, Arlan H. Mintz and Daniel M. Prevedello
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.
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.
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.
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.
Paul A. Gardner, Amin B. Kassam, Carl H. Snyderman, Ricardo L. Carrau, Arlan H. Mintz, Steven Grahovac and Susan Stefko
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.
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.
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.
Endoscopic EEA for the resection of craniopharyngiomas provides acceptable results and holds the potential to improve outcomes.
Luigi M. Cavallo, Daniel M. Prevedello, Domenico Solari, Paul A. Gardner, Felice Esposito, Carl H. Snyderman, Ricardo L. Carrau, Amin B. Kassam and Paolo Cappabianca
The management of recurrent or residual craniopharyngiomas remains controversial. Although possible, revision surgery is more challenging than primary surgery, and more often results in incomplete resection and an increased risk of death and complications. The extended (also called expanded) endoscopic endonasal transsphenoidal approach through the planum sphenoidale has been proposed over the past decade as an alternative surgical route for removal of various suprasellar tumors including craniopharyngiomas. In this study, the authors describe the feasibility and advantages of this technique in recurrent or symptomatic residual craniopharyngiomas.
Between January 2004 and June 2008, 22 patients underwent surgery via the extended endoscopic transsphenoidal approach for the treatment of recurrent or residual symptomatic craniopharyngiomas at either the University of Pittsburgh or the Universita degli Studi di Napoli. The lesions included 12 purely suprasellar craniopharyngiomas, 9 with both intra- and suprasellar extensions, and 1 arising from a remnant in the Meckel cave. To better evaluate the features of the extended endonasal approach for recurrent or residual craniopharyngiomas, each patient was assigned to 1 of 3 subgroups depending on the original surgical treatment: transcranial pterional route (13 patients), transphenoidal approach (3 patients; 2 microsurgically and 1 with the standard endoscopic technique), or extended endonasal endoscopic approach (6 patients).
Total removal was achieved in 9 patients (40.9%), and in 8 patients (36.4%) near-total removal (defined as > 95% removal) was possible. Subtotal removal (> 70%) was attained in 4 patients (18.2%), and tumor removal was partial (< 50%) in only 1 case (4.5%). There were no deaths or major complications, including behavior changes. Postoperative CSF leaks developed in 2 patients in the transcranial subgroup, and 1 in the transsphenoidal subgroup (overall rate 13.6%), requiring early successful endoscopic revision surgery for the cranial base defect.
Most of the advantages of the endoscopic endonasal technique were noted during tumor dissection from the inferior aspect of the chiasm, the infundibulum, the third ventricle, and/or the retro- and parasellar areas. These benefits were best appreciated in patients who had originally undergone transcranial surgery, since in such cases the authors' endoscopic endonasal approach was a virgin route. However, the extended endoscopic endonasal technique can also be safely used in patients who originally underwent transsphenoidal surgery. The endoscopic endonasal technique should be considered as a therapeutic option in selected cases of recurrent or symptomatic residual craniopharyngiomas.