The aim of this study was to confirm the feasibility of an innovative transoral robotic surgery (TORS), using the da Vinci Surgical System, for patients with sellar tumors. This technique was designed to offer a new minimally invasive approach, without soft-palate splitting, that avoids the rhinological side effects of classic endonasal approaches.
The authors performed a prospective study of TORS in patients with symptomatic sellar tumors. Specific anatomical features were required for inclusion in the study and were determined on the basis of preoperative open-mouth CT scans of the brain. The main outcome measure was sellar accessibility using the robot. Resection quality, mean operative time, postoperative changes in patients' vision, side effects, and complications were additionally reported.
Between February and May 2016, 4 patients (all female, mean age 49.5 years) underwent TORS for resection of sellar tumors as participants in this study. All patients presented with symptomatic visual deficits confirmed as bitemporal hemianopsia. All tumors had a suprasellar portion and a cystic part. In all 4 cases, the operation was performed via TORS, without the need for a second surgery. Sella turcica accessibility was satisfactory in all cases. In 3 cases, tumor resection was complete. The mean operative time was 2 hours 43 minutes. Three patients had a significant visual improvement at Day 1. No rhinological side effects or complications in patients occurred. No pathological examination was performed regarding the fluid component of the tumors. There was 1 postoperative delayed CSF leak and 1 case of transient diabetes insipidus. Side effects specific to TORS included minor sore throat, transient hypernasal speech, and 1 case of delayed otitis media. The mean length of hospital stay and mean follow up were 8.25 days and 82 days, respectively.
To our knowledge, this is the first report of the surgical treatment of sellar tumors by means of a minimally invasive TORS. This approach using the da Vinci Surgical System seems feasible and constitutes an innovative neurosurgical technique that may avoid the adverse side effects and technical disadvantages of the classic transsphenoidal route. Moreover, TORS allows an inferosuperior approach to the sella turcica, which is a key point, as the tumor is approached in the direction of its growth.