In this report, the authors describe their experience with surgical access to the cavernous sinus via a fully transnasal endoscopic approach in 20 cases. Clinical and endocrinological follow-up are discussed.
The authors used an endoscopic transsphenoidal approach in 192 patients with pituitary adenomas between September 1997 and January 2008, adding a cavernous sinus approach in 20 patients with invasive tumors during the last 5 years of this period. Parasellar extension of the tumor was measured according to the Knosp Scale. Radical tumor removal was achieved in 13 (65%) of 20 patients, and subtotal removal in 7 (35%). The authors used recently defined cavernous sinus approaches in the first 14 cases, including the paraseptal approach in 6, middle turbinectomy in 7, and contralateral middle turbinectomy in 1 case. Combined approaches rather than defined standard cavernous sinus approaches were used in 4 cases and an extended approach in 2.
The tumors included nonsecretory adenomas in 5 cases (25%), growth hormone–secreting adenomas in 7 (35%), prolactin-secreting adenomas in 4 (20%), and adrenocorticotropic hormone–secreting adenomas in 4 cases (20%). Normal growth hormone and insulin-like growth factor 1 levels were achieved in 4 patients (57%) with growth hormone adenomas, and remission criteria were obtained in 3 patients with prolactinomas and 3 patients with adrenocorticotropic hormone–secreting adenomas.
Compared with transcranial and microscopic transsphenoidal surgery, endoscopic transsphenoidal surgery offers a wide exposure for cavernous sinus medial wall adenomas that enables removal of the adenoma from the medial cavernous sinus wall. Because of the necessity for multidisciplinary treatment to achieve satisfactory results, Gamma Knife surgery and medical therapy should be supplementary treatment options after endoscopic transsphenoidal surgery.