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Simona Mihaela Florea, Thomas Graillon, Thomas Cuny, Regis Gras, Thierry Brue and Henry Dufour


Ophthalmoplegia is a rare complication of transsphenoidal surgery, only noted in a few studies. The purpose of this study was to analyze the complications of cranial nerve III, IV, or VI palsy after transsphenoidal surgery for pituitary adenoma and understand its physiopathology and outcome.


The authors retrospectively analyzed 24 cases of postoperative ophthalmoplegia selected from the 1694 patients operated via a transsphenoidal route in their department.


Two patients were operated on via microscopy and 22 via endoscopy. Patients operated on endoscopically had a greater risk of presenting with an extraocular nerve deficit postoperatively (p = 0.0115). It was found that an extension into or an invasion of the cavernous sinus (Knosp grade 3 or 4 on MRI, 18/24 patients) was correlated with a higher risk of postoperative ophthalmoplegia (p < 0.0001). The deficit was apparent immediately after surgery in 2 patients. For these 2 patients, the mechanisms of ophthalmoplegia were compression or intraoperative nerve lesion. The other 22 patients became symptomatic in the 12–72 hours following the surgery. The mechanisms implied in these cases were intrasellar compressive hematoma (4/22 cases), intracavernous hemorrhagic suffusion, or incomplete resection of the intracavernous portion of the tumor. All patients who did not present with oculomotor palsy immediately after surgery completely recovered their deficits in the 3 months that followed, while the other 2 experienced permanent damage.


Extraocular nerve dysfunction after transsphenoidal pituitary surgery is a rare complication that occurs more frequently in the case of the invasion or an important extension into the cavernous sinus. In this series, it also appears to be significantly more frequent in patients operated on via an endoscopic approach. Most patients have deficits that appear with a delay of 12–72 hours postoperatively and they are most likely to completely recover.

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Régis Guieu, Henri Dufour, François Grisoli, Philippe Jaquet, Yves Guieu, Jean Pierre Rosso, Muriel Munier, Véronique Dicostanzo, Thierry Brue, Alain Enjalbert, Dominique Begoud and Hervé Rochat

Object. Prolactinomas account for approximately 40% of pituitary tumors. If the tumor does not exceed 10 mm at its largest diameter (microprolactinoma), the chances of definitive cure as a result of surgery alone vary from 62 to 89% depending on the series. Until now, however, there was no mechanism to predict whether total excision of a tumor had been accomplished. To improve the chances of total excision, we compared the peri- and postoperative kinetics of circulating prolactin (PRL) in patients judged to be cured and those not cured.

Methods. The pre-, peri-, and postoperative variations in blood PRL concentrations were determined using assays conducted at 10-minute intervals. Of the 36 patients included in the study, 27 were considered cured (resumption of a normal menstrual cycle within 6 months, PRL concentration at 9 days [mean ± standard deviation 2.5 ± 2.1 ng/ml] and 12 months [4.5± 2.2 ng/ml] after the operation < 10 ng/ml and normally stimulated by metoclopramide and thyrotropin-releasing hormone [TRH]). Nine patients were not cured (PRL 20 ± 15.7 ng/ml at 9 days after surgery, with no response to metoclopramide and TRH). The kinetics of PRL decrease in definitively cured patients were characterized by the following: 1) the initial slope of the curve decreased by at least 11% within the first 10 minutes after resection, and 2) immediate postoperative PRL concentrations were 20 ng/ml or less.

Conclusions. The measurement of the kinetics of PRL decrease during surgery allows the chance of gross-total resection to be successfully predicted less than 25 minutes after excision of the adenoma. Provided an ultrarapid assay is available (the test used in the present study took < 15 minutes), this prognostic index would be useful to make a decision to continue the surgical procedure when the initial PRL slope is judged to be insufficient. Its use may also be extended to other pituitary tumors such as somatotropic adenoma and basophilic adenoma (Cushing's disease).