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  • Author or Editor: Alfonso Iodice D'Enza x
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Matteo de Notaris, Domenico Solari, Luigi M. Cavallo, Alfonso Iodice D'Enza, Joaquim Enseñat, Joan Berenguer, Enrique Ferrer, Alberto Prats-Galino and Paolo Cappabianca

Object

The tuberculum sellae is a bony elevation ridge that lines up the anterior aspect of the sella, dividing it from the chiasmatic groove. The recent use of the endoscopic endonasal transtuberculum approach has provided surgeons with a method to reach the suprasellar area, offering a new surgical point of view somehow “opposite” of this area. The authors of this study aimed to define the tuberculum sellae as seen from the endoscopic endonasal view while also providing CT-based systematic measurements to objectively detail the anatomical features of such a structure, which was renamed the “suprasellar notch.”

Methods

The authors analyzed routine skull CT scans from 24 patients with no brain pathology or fractures and measured the interoptic distance at the level of the limbus sphenoidale, the chiasmatic groove sulcal length and width, and the angle of the suprasellar notch.

Indeed, the suprasellar notch was defined as the angle between 2 lines, the first passing through the tuberculum sellae midpoint and perpendicular to the cribriform plate, and a second line passing between 2 points, the midpoints of the limbus sphenoidale and the tuberculum sellae. Moreover, the authors performed on 15 cadaveric heads an endoscopic endonasal transplanum transtuberculum approach with the aid of a neuronavigator to achieve a step-by-step comparison with the radiological data. The whole CT scanning set was statistically analyzed to determine the statistical interdependency of the suprasellar notch angle with the other 3 measurements, that is, the sulcal length at the midline, the interoptic distance at the optic canal entrance, and the interoptic distance at the limbus.

Results

Based on the endoscopic endonasal view and CT imaging analysis, the authors identified a certain anatomical variability and thus introduced a new classification of the suprasellar notch: Type I, angle < 118°; Type II, angle of 118°–138°; and Type III, angle > 138°. They then analyzed the surgical implications of the endoscopic endonasal approach to the suprasellar area, which could be affected by each of these structural types.

Conclusions

The new classification identifies 3 different types of suprasellar notch and, accordingly, their surgical relevance. Above all, the authors found that the different types of suprasellar notch can affect the osteodural defect reconstruction technique, namely the positioning/wedging of the buttress in the extradural space. A precise endoscopic anatomical knowledge of the neurovascular and bony relationships—especially in cases of a less pneumatized sphenoid sinus—is crucial when approaching the anterior skull base via a transtuberculum transplanum route.

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Luigi Maria Cavallo, Giorgio Frank, Paolo Cappabianca, Domenico Solari, Diego Mazzatenta, Alessandro Villa, Matteo Zoli, Alfonso Iodice D'Enza, Felice Esposito and Ernesto Pasquini

Object

Despite their benign histological appearance, craniopharyngiomas can be considered a challenge for the neurosurgeon and a possible source of poor prognosis for the patient. With the widespread use of the endoscope in endonasal surgery, this route has been proposed over the past decade as an alternative technique for the removal of craniopharyngiomas.

Methods

The authors retrospectively analyzed data from a series of 103 patients who underwent the endoscopic endonasal approach at two institutions (Division of Neurosurgery of the Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II, Naples, Italy, and Division of Neurosurgery of the Bellaria Hospital, Bologna, Italy), between January 1997 and December 2012, for the removal of infra- and/or supradiaphragmatic craniopharyngiomas. Twenty-nine patients (28.2%) had previously been surgically treated.

Results

The authors achieved overall gross-total removal in 68.9% of the cases: 78.9% in purely infradiaphragmatic lesions and 66.3% in lesions involving the supradiaphragmatic space. Among lesions previously treated surgically, the gross-total removal rate was 62.1%. The overall improvement rate in visual disturbances was 74.7%, whereas worsening occurred in 2.5%. No new postoperative defect was noted. Worsening of the anterior pituitary function was reported in 46.2% of patients overall, and there were 38 new cases (48.1% of 79) of postoperative diabetes insipidus. The most common complication was postoperative CSF leakage; the overall rate was 14.6%, and it diminished to 4% in the last 25 procedures, thanks to improvement in reconstruction techniques. The mortality rate was 1.9%, with a mean follow-up duration of 48 months (range 3–246 months).

Conclusions

The endoscopic endonasal approach has become a valid surgical technique for the management of craniopharyngiomas. It provides an excellent corridor to infra- and supradiaphragmatic midline craniopharyngiomas, including the management of lesions extending into the third ventricle chamber. Even though indications for this approach are rigorously lesion based, the data in this study confirm its effectiveness in a large patient series.