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Lea M. Alhilali, Andrew S. Little, Kevin C. J. Yuen, Jae Lee, Timothy K. Ho, Saeed Fakhran, and William L. White

OBJECTIVE

Current practice guidelines recommend delayed (≥ 3 months after operation) postoperative MRI after transsphenoidal surgery for pituitary adenomas, although this practice defers obtaining important information, such as the presence of a residual adenoma, that might influence patient management during the perioperative period. In this study, the authors compared detection of residual adenomas by means of early postoperative (EPO) MRI (< 48 hours postsurgery) with both surgeon intraoperative assessment and late postoperative (LPO) MRI at 3 months.

METHODS

Adult patients who underwent microscopic transsphenoidal surgery for pituitary adenomas with MRI preoperatively, < 48 hours after the operation, 3 months postoperatively, and yearly for 4 years were included. The presence or absence of residual tumor was assessed intraoperatively by a single surgeon and postoperatively by 2 neuroradiologists blinded to the intraoperative assessment and other postoperative imaging studies. The presence of residual tumor was confirmed by reresection, tumor growth on imaging, or hormonal evidence. Interreader reliability was calculated at each imaging time point. Specificity, sensitivity, positive predictive value, and negative predictive value for EPO and LPO imaging and intraoperative assessment were determined.

RESULTS

In total, 102 consecutive patients who underwent microscopic transsphenoidal resection of a pituitary adenoma were included. Eighteen patients (18%) had confirmed residual tumors (12 confirmed by tumor growth, 5 by surgery, and 1 by biochemical evidence of persistent disease). Interreader reliability for detecting residual tumor on EPO MRI was almost perfect (κ = 0.88) and significantly higher than that for LPO MRI (κ = 0.69, p = 0.03). EPO MRI was highly specific for residual tumor (98%), a finding similar to that for intraoperative assessment (99%, p = 0.60) and significantly higher than that for LPO MRI (81%, p < 0.001). Notably, EPO MRI was significantly more sensitive for residual tumor (100%) than both intraoperative assessment (78%, p = 0.04) and LPO MRI (78%, p = 0.04). EPO MRI had a 100% negative predictive value and was used to find 4 residual tumors that were not identified intraoperatively. Residual tumors found on EPO MRI allowed for reresection during the same hospitalization for 3 patients.

CONCLUSIONS

EPO MRI after transsphenoidal pituitary surgery can be reliably interpreted and has greater sensitivity for detecting residual tumor than intraoperative assessment and LPO MRI. This result challenges current guidelines stating that delayed postoperative imaging is preferable to early imaging. Pituitary surgeons should consider performing EPO MRI either in addition to or instead of delayed imaging.

Free access

Lea M. Alhilali, Andrew S. Little, Kevin C. J. Yuen, Jae Lee, Timothy K. Ho, Saeed Fakhran, and William L. White

OBJECTIVE

Current practice guidelines recommend delayed (≥ 3 months after operation) postoperative MRI after transsphenoidal surgery for pituitary adenomas, although this practice defers obtaining important information, such as the presence of a residual adenoma, that might influence patient management during the perioperative period. In this study, the authors compared detection of residual adenomas by means of early postoperative (EPO) MRI (< 48 hours postsurgery) with both surgeon intraoperative assessment and late postoperative (LPO) MRI at 3 months.

METHODS

Adult patients who underwent microscopic transsphenoidal surgery for pituitary adenomas with MRI preoperatively, < 48 hours after the operation, 3 months postoperatively, and yearly for 4 years were included. The presence or absence of residual tumor was assessed intraoperatively by a single surgeon and postoperatively by 2 neuroradiologists blinded to the intraoperative assessment and other postoperative imaging studies. The presence of residual tumor was confirmed by reresection, tumor growth on imaging, or hormonal evidence. Interreader reliability was calculated at each imaging time point. Specificity, sensitivity, positive predictive value, and negative predictive value for EPO and LPO imaging and intraoperative assessment were determined.

RESULTS

In total, 102 consecutive patients who underwent microscopic transsphenoidal resection of a pituitary adenoma were included. Eighteen patients (18%) had confirmed residual tumors (12 confirmed by tumor growth, 5 by surgery, and 1 by biochemical evidence of persistent disease). Interreader reliability for detecting residual tumor on EPO MRI was almost perfect (κ = 0.88) and significantly higher than that for LPO MRI (κ = 0.69, p = 0.03). EPO MRI was highly specific for residual tumor (98%), a finding similar to that for intraoperative assessment (99%, p = 0.60) and significantly higher than that for LPO MRI (81%, p < 0.001). Notably, EPO MRI was significantly more sensitive for residual tumor (100%) than both intraoperative assessment (78%, p = 0.04) and LPO MRI (78%, p = 0.04). EPO MRI had a 100% negative predictive value and was used to find 4 residual tumors that were not identified intraoperatively. Residual tumors found on EPO MRI allowed for reresection during the same hospitalization for 3 patients.

CONCLUSIONS

EPO MRI after transsphenoidal pituitary surgery can be reliably interpreted and has greater sensitivity for detecting residual tumor than intraoperative assessment and LPO MRI. This result challenges current guidelines stating that delayed postoperative imaging is preferable to early imaging. Pituitary surgeons should consider performing EPO MRI either in addition to or instead of delayed imaging.

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Andrew S. Little, Paul A. Gardner, Juan C. Fernandez-Miranda, Michael R. Chicoine, Garni Barkhoudarian, Daniel M. Prevedello, Kevin C. J. Yuen, Daniel F. Kelly, and for the TRANSSPHER Study Group

OBJECTIVE

Recovery from preexisting hypopituitarism after transsphenoidal surgery for pituitary adenoma is an important outcome to investigate. Furthermore, pituitary function has not been thoroughly evaluated after fully endoscopic surgery, and benchmark outcomes have not been clearly established. Here, the authors characterize pituitary gland outcomes with a focus on gland recovery following endoscopic transsphenoidal removal of clinically nonfunctioning adenomas.

METHODS

This multicenter prospective study was conducted at 6 US pituitary centers among adult patients with nonfunctioning pituitary macroadenomas who had undergone endoscopic endonasal pituitary surgery. Pituitary gland function was evaluated 6 months after surgery.

RESULTS

The 177 enrolled patients underwent fully endoscopic transsphenoidal surgery; 169 (95.5%) of them were available for follow-up. Ninety-five (56.2%) of the 169 patients had had a preoperative deficiency in at least one hormone axis, and 20/95 (21.1%) experienced recovery in at least one axis at the 6-month follow-up. Patients with adrenal insufficiency were more likely to recover (10/34 [29.4%]) than were those with hypothyroidism (8/72 [11.1%]) or male hypogonadism (5/50 [10.0%]). At the 6-month follow-up, 14/145 (9.7%) patients had developed at least one new deficiency. The study did not identify any predictors of gland recovery (p ≥ 0.20). Permanent diabetes insipidus was observed in 4/166 (2.4%) patients. Predictors of new gland dysfunction included a larger tumor size (p = 0.009) and Knosp grade 3 and 4 (p = 0.051).

CONCLUSIONS

Fully endoscopic pituitary surgery resulted in improvement of pituitary gland function in a substantial minority of patients. The deficiency from which patients were most likely to recover was adrenal insufficiency. Overall rates of postoperative permanent diabetes insipidus were low. This study provides multicenter benchmark neuroendocrine clinical outcome data for the endoscopic technique.

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Christina E. Sarris, Scott T. Brigeman, Estelle Doris, Maggie Bobrowitz, Thomas Rowe, Eva M. Duran, Griffin D. Santarelli, Ryan M. Rehl, Garineh Ovanessoff, Monica C. Rodriguez, Kajalben Buddhdev, Kevin C. J. Yuen, and Andrew S. Little

OBJECTIVE

A comprehensive quality improvement (QI) program aimed at all aspects of patient care after pituitary surgery was initiated at a single center. This initiative was guided by standard quality principles to improve patient outcomes and optimize healthcare value. The programmatic goal was to discharge most elective patients within 1 day after surgery, improve patient safety, and limit unplanned readmissions. The program is described, and its effect on patient outcomes and hospital financial performance over a 5-year period are investigated.

METHODS

Details of the patient care pathway are presented. Foundational elements of the QI program include evidence-based care pathways (e.g., for hyponatremia and pain), an in-house research program designed to fortify care pathways, patient education, expectation setting, multidisciplinary team care, standard order sets, high-touch postdischarge care, outcomes auditing, and a patient navigator, among other elements. Length of stay (LOS), outcome variability, 30-day unplanned readmissions, and hospital financial performance were identified as surrogate endpoints for healthcare value for the surgical epoch. To assess the effect of these protocols, all patients undergoing elective transsphenoidal surgery for pituitary tumors and Rathke’s cleft cysts between January 2015 and December 2019 were reviewed.

RESULTS

A total of 609 adult patients who underwent elective surgery by experienced pituitary surgeons were identified. Patient demographics, comorbidities, and payer mix did not change significantly over the study period (p ≥ 0.10). The mean LOS was significantly shorter in 2019 versus 2015 (1.6 ± 1.0 vs 2.9 ± 2.2 midnights, p < 0.001). The percentage of patients discharged after 1 midnight was significantly higher in 2019 versus 2015 (75.4% vs 15.6%, p < 0.001). The 30-day unplanned hospital readmission rate decreased to 2.8% in 2019 from 8.3% in 2015. Per-patient hospital profit increased 71.3% ($10,613 ± $19,321 in 2015; $18,180 ± $21,930 in 2019), and the contribution margin increased 42.3% ($18,925 ± $19,236 in 2015; $26,939 ± $22,057 in 2019), while costs increased by only 3.4% ($18,829 ± $6611 in 2015; $19,469 ± $4291 in 2019).

CONCLUSIONS

After implementation of a comprehensive pituitary surgery QI program, patient outcomes significantly improved, outcome variability decreased, and hospital financial performance was enhanced. Future studies designed to evaluate disease remission, patient satisfaction, and how the surgeon learning curve may synergize with other quality efforts may provide additional context.