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Tyler Cardinal, Martin J. Rutkowski, Alexander Micko, Mark Shiroishi, Chia-Shang Jason Liu, Bozena Wrobel, John Carmichael and Gabriel Zada

OBJECTIVE

Acromegaly is a disease of acral enlargement and elevated serum levels of insulin-like growth factor–1 (IGF-1) and growth hormone (GH), usually caused by a pituitary adenoma. A lack of consensus on factors that reliably predict outcomes in acromegalic patients following endoscopic endonasal transsphenoidal surgery (EETS) warrants additional investigation.

METHODS

The authors identified 52 patients with acromegaly who underwent an endoscopic endonasal approach (EEA) for resection of a GH-secreting pituitary adenoma. Preoperative and postoperative tumor and endocrinological characteristics such as tumor size, invasiveness, and GH/IGF-1 levels were evaluated as potential indicators of postoperative hormonal remission. Endocrinological remission was defined as postoperative IGF-1 levels at or below the age- and sex-normalized values.

RESULTS

The 52 patients had a mean age of 50.7 ± 13.4 years and a mean follow-up duration of 24.4 ± 19.1 months. Ten patients (19%) had microadenomas and 42 (81%) had macroadenomas. Five patients (9.6%) had giant adenomas. Forty-four tumors (85%) had extrasellar extension, with 40 (77%) exhibiting infrasellar invasion, 18 (35%) extending above the sella, and 7 (13%) invading the cavernous sinuses. Thirty-six patients (69%) underwent gross-total resection (GTR; mean maximal tumor diameter 1.47 cm), and 16 (31%) underwent subtotal resection (STR; mean maximal tumor diameter 2.74 cm). Invasive tumors were significantly larger, and Knosp scores were negatively correlated with GTR. Thirty-eight patients (73%) achieved hormonal remission after EEA resection alone, which increased to 87% with adjunctive medical therapy. Ninety percent of patients with microadenomas and 86% of patients with macroadenomas achieved hormonal remission. Preoperative IGF-1 and postoperative day 1 (POD1) GH levels were inversely correlated with hormonal remission. Postoperative CSF leakage occurred in 2 patients (4%), and none experienced vision loss, death, or injury to internal carotid arteries or cranial nerves.

CONCLUSIONS

Endoscopic transsphenoidal resection of GH-secreting pituitary adenomas is a safe and highly effective treatment for achieving hormonal remission and tumor control in up to 87% of patients with acromegaly when combined with postoperative medical therapy. Patients with lower preoperative IGF-1 and POD1 GH levels, with less invasive pituitary adenomas, and who undergo GTR are more likely to achieve postoperative biochemical remission.

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Martin J. Rutkowski, Ki-Eun Chang, Tyler Cardinal, Robin Du, Ali R. Tafreshi, Daniel A. Donoho, Andrew Brunswick, Alexander Micko, Chia-Shang J. Liu, Mark S. Shiroishi, John D. Carmichael and Gabriel Zada

OBJECTIVE

Pituitary adenoma (PA) consistency, or texture, is an important intraoperative characteristic that may dictate operative dissection techniques and/or instruments used for tumor removal during endoscopic endonasal approaches (EEAs). The impact of PA consistency on surgical outcomes has yet to be elucidated.

METHODS

The authors developed an objective 5-point grading scale for PA consistency based on intraoperative characteristics, including ease of tumor debulking, manipulation, and instrument selection, ranging from cystic/hemorrhagic tumors (grade 1) to calcified tumors (grade 5). The proposed grading system was prospectively assessed in 306 consecutive patients who underwent an EEA for PAs, and who were subsequently analyzed for associations with surgical outcomes, including extent of resection (EOR) and complication profiles.

RESULTS

Institutional database review identified 306 patients who underwent intraoperative assessment of PA consistency, of which 96% were macroadenomas, 70% had suprasellar extension, and 44% had cavernous sinus invasion (CSI). There were 214 (69.9%) nonfunctional PAs and 92 functional PAs (31.1%). Distribution of scores included 15 grade 1 tumors (4.9%), 112 grade 2 tumors (36.6%), 125 grade 3 tumors (40.8%), 52 grade 4 tumors (17%), and 2 grade 5 tumors (0.7%). Compared to grade 1/2 and grade 3 PAs, grade 4/5 PAs were significantly larger (22.5 vs 26.6 vs 27.4 mm, p < 0.01), more likely to exhibit CSI (39% vs 42% vs 59%, p < 0.05), and trended toward nonfunctionality (67% vs 68% vs 82%, p = 0.086). Although there was no association between PA consistency and preoperative headaches or visual dysfunction, grade 4/5 PAs trended toward preoperative (p = 0.058) and postoperative panhypopituitarism (p = 0.066). Patients with preoperative visual dysfunction experienced greater improvement if they had a grade 1/2 PA (p < 0.05). Intraoperative CSF leaks were noted in 32% of cases and were more common with higher-consistency-grade tumors (p = 0.048), although this difference did not translate to postoperative CSF leaks. Gross-total resection (%) was more likely with lower PA consistency score as follows: grade 1/2 (60%), grade 3 (50%), grade 4/5 (44%; p = 0.045). Extracapsular techniques were almost exclusively performed in grade 4/5 PAs. Assignment of scores showed low variance and high reproducibility, with an intraclass correlation coefficient of 0.905 (95% CI 0.815–0.958), indicating excellent interrater reliability.

CONCLUSIONS

These findings demonstrate clinical validity of the proposed intraoperative grading scale with respect to PA subtype, neuroimaging features, EOR, and endocrine complications. Future studies will assess the relation of PA consistency to preoperative MRI findings to accurately predict consistency, thereby allowing the surgeon to tailor the exposure and prepare for varying resection strategies.