Both endoscopic and microscopic transsphenoidal approaches are accepted techniques for the resection of pituitary adenomas. Although studies have explored patient outcomes for each technique individually, none have prospectively compared sinonasal and quality of life outcomes in a concurrent series of patients at the same institution, as has been done in the present study.
Patients with nonfunctioning adenomas undergoing transsphenoidal surgery were assessed for sinonasal function, quality of life, and pain using the Sino-Nasal Outcome Test-20 (SNOT-20), the short form of the Nasal Obstruction Symptom Evaluation (NOSE) instrument, the SF-36, and a headache scale. Eighty-two patients undergoing either endoscopic (47 patients) or microscopic (35 patients) surgery were surveyed preoperatively and at 24–48 hours, 2 weeks, 4 weeks, 8 weeks, and 1 year after surgery.
Patients who underwent endoscopic and microscopic transsphenoidal surgery experienced a similar recovery pattern, showing an initial increase in symptoms during the first 2 weeks, followed by a return to baseline by 4 weeks and improvement beyond baseline functioning by 8 weeks. Patients who underwent endoscopic surgery experienced better sinonasal outcomes at 24–48 hours (SNOT total p = 0.015, SNOT rhinologic subscale [ssRhino] p < 0.001), 2 weeks (NOSE p = 0.013), and 8 weeks (SNOT total p = 0.032 and SNOT ssRhino p = 0.035). By 1 year after surgery, no significant differences in sinonasal outcomes were observed between the 2 groups. Headache scales at 1 year improved in all dimensions except duration for both groups (total result 73%, p = 0.004; severity 46%, p < 0.001; frequency 53%, p < 0.001), with 80% of either microscopic or endoscopic patients experiencing improvement or resolution of headache symptoms. Endoscopic and microscopic patients experienced reduced vitality preoperatively compared with US population norms and remained low postoperatively. By 8 weeks after surgery, both groups experienced significant improvements in mental health (13%, p = 0.005) and vitality (15%, p = 0.037). By 1 year after surgery, patients improved significantly in mental health (14%, p = 0.03), role physical (14%, p = 0.036), social functioning (16%, p = 0.009), vitality (22%, p = 0.002), and SF-36 total (10%, p = 0.024) as compared with preoperative measures. There were no significant differences at any time point between the 2 groups for the total SF-36 or for any of the 8 subscales.
Patients who underwent either an endoscopic or a microscopic approach experienced the greatest nasal symptoms at 2 weeks postoperatively and exhibited similar time courses of recovery in nasal, headache, and quality of life assessments. Although patients who underwent endoscopic surgery experienced significantly fewer nasal symptoms during the first 8 weeks, by 1 year after surgery, there were no significant differences between the 2 groups.