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Russell R. Lonser

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Satoru Shimizu

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Steven M. Sorscher

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Russell R. Lonser, Ronald R. Buggage, and Robert J. Weil

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Marc R. Mayberg

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Russell R. Lonser, Lynnette Nieman, and Edward H. Oldfield

Cushing's disease (CD) is the result of excess secretion of adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) by a benign monoclonal pituitary adenoma. The excessive secretion of ACTH stimulates secretion of cortisol by the adrenal glands, resulting in supraphysiological levels of circulating cortisol. The pathophysiological levels of cortisol are associated with hypertension, diabetes, obesity, and early death. Successful resection of the CD-associated ACTH-secreting pituitary adenoma is the treatment of choice and results in immediate biochemical remission with preservation of pituitary function. Accurate and early identification of CD is critical for effective surgical management and optimal prognosis. The authors review the current pathophysiological principles, diagnostic methods, and management of CD.

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Shailendra Kapoor

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Gautam U. Mehta, Russell R. Lonser, and Edward H. Oldfield

Although he never performed a pituitary operation for the disease, Harvey Cushing was the first to describe and treat patients with Cushing disease (CD). Other surgeons at the time were reluctant to operate on the pituitary due to the normal sella on skull radiographs in CD and the unclear etiology of the disorder. To better define and understand factors influencing the history of pituitary surgery for CD, the authors analyzed historical texts related to CD biology, diagnosis, and treatment. Cushing's monograph on basophilic pituitary adenomas and cortisol excess appeared in 1932. One year later in 1933, Alfred Pattison performed the first successful pituitary operation for CD by implanting radon seeds in the sella. Resection of a pituitary adenoma for CD was attempted 1 month later in 1933 by Howard Naffziger, resulting in only transient improvement that corresponded to the lack of tumor in the resected tissue. Soon thereafter, Susman in 1935 and Costello in 1936 described pituitary basophilic adenomas at autopsy in patients without premorbid endocrinopathy. They concluded that the adrenal gland was the cause of CD, which resulted in a 3-decade abandonment of pituitary surgery for CD. Jules Hardy in 1963 used the operating microscope to perform the first selective removal of an adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH)–secreting microadenoma, which established a pituitary cause and defined the modern treatment of CD. Subsequent reports by Hardy, Laws, and Wilson resulted in widespread acceptance of pituitary surgery for CD. Initial reluctance to operate on the pituitary for CD was multifaceted and included general uncertainty surrounding the etiology of Cushing syndrome as well as a lack of early surgical success, both due to the small size of ACTH-secreting adenomas. Selective removal of ACTH-secreting adenomas identified the source of CD and ended the delay in acceptance of pituitary surgery for CD.

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Russell R. Lonser, John D. Heiss, and Edward H. Oldfield

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Russell R. Lonser, John D. Heiss, and Edward H. Oldfield

✓ Preoperative reduction in tumor vascularity has been accomplished previously by selective catheterization of tumor vessels and delivery of occlusive materials. The results of percutaneous infusion of vertebral hemangiomas and other vascular lesions led the authors to speculate that rapid devascularization of tumors by direct injection of ethanol (ETOH) could be used to reduce bleeding and facilitate resection during surgery. Thus, the use of intratumoral injection of ETOH and its effects on tumor hemostasis and resectability were examined. Four patients received direct injection of ETOH into either a spinal epidural (two renal cell carcinomas and one rhabdomyosarcoma) or a large cerebellar neoplasm (hemangioblastoma). Intraoperative perfusion of the tumors with ETOH produced immediate blanching and devascularization and enhanced visualization and resection.

Incremental tumor devascularization is achieved by careful injection of small amounts of ETOH directly into the lesion, producing immediate and complete regional tumor devascularization. Use of this technique reduces intratumoral bleeding and enhances the ease and effectiveness of resection.