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Wolfgang J. Weninger and Gerd B. Mülle

Object

In this study the authors analyze the peculiarities of the parasellar anatomy and the topography of surgical approaches to the parasellar region (PSR) in human infants.

Methods

Forty-nine specimens of the PSR obtained at autopsy were studied using microdissection and histological analysis. Important distances between anatomical landmarks were measured with the aid of a dissecting microscope. One serially sectioned specimen was three-dimensionally reconstructed and analyzed on the computer screen by using the authors' new episcopic reconstruction technique.

The anatomy of the infant PSR differs distinctly from that of the adult. The parasellar portion of the internal carotid artery (ICA) does not form a siphon, but takes a straight course, and the venous pathways as well as the cranial and sympathetic nerves have different topographical relationships. Analyses of surgical approaches demonstrate that, in young children, the anterolateral approach can be used to reach the pterygopalatine compartment, the superior ophthalmic vein, and those pathological processes that extend from the orbit into the PSR. The approach via Parkinson's triangle can be used in 45% of cases to access the pathological processes that occur in the voluminous space above and behind the posterior flexure of the parasellar ICA. Taking this route, sympathetic nerve fibers passing through the PSR are not at risk, but some arterial branches that run within the lateral wall of the sinus can complicate this approach.

Conclusions

This study presents a guideline that can assist radiologists and neurosurgeons in the planning and performance of interventions within the PSR of neonates and young children.

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Wolfgang J. Weninger and Gerd B. Müller

Object. In this study the authors analyze the peculiarities of the parasellar anatomy and the topography of surgical approaches to the parasellar region (PSR) in human infants.

Methods. Forty-nine specimens of the PSR obtained at autopsy were studied using microdissection and histological analysis. Important distances between anatomical landmarks were measured with the aid of a dissecting microscope. One serially sectioned specimen was three-dimensionally reconstructed and analyzed on the computer screen by using the authors' new episcopic reconstruction technique.

Conclusions. The anatomy of the infant PSR differs distinctly from that of the adult. The parasellar portion of the internal carotid artery (ICA) does not form a siphon, but takes a straight course, and the venous pathways as well as the cranial and sympathetic nerves have different topographical relationships. Analyses of surgical approaches demonstrate that, in young children, the anterolateral approach can be used to reach the pterygopalatine compartment, the superior ophthalmic vein, and those pathological processes that extend from the orbit into the PSR. The approach via Parkinson's triangle can be used in 45% of cases to access the pathological processes that occur in the voluminous space above and behind the posterior flexure of the parasellar ICA. Taking this route, sympathetic nerve fibers passing through the PSR are not at risk, but some arterial branches that run within the lateral wall of the sinus can complicate this approach.

This study presents a guideline that can assist radiologists and neurosurgeons in the planning and performance of interventions within the PSR of neonates and young children.

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Alexander Micko, Johannes Oberndorfer, Wolfgang J. Weninger, Greisa Vila, Romana Höftberger, Stefan Wolfsberger, and Engelbert Knosp

OBJECTIVE

Parasellar growth is one of the most important prognostic variables of pituitary adenoma surgery, with adenomas regarded as not completely resectable if they invade the cavernous sinus (CS) but potentially curable if they displace CS structures. This study was conducted to correlate surgical treatment options and outcomes to the different biological behaviors (invasion vs displacement) of adenomas with parasellar extension into the superior or inferior CS compartments or completely encasing the carotid artery (Knosp high grades 3A, 3B, and 4).

METHODS

This was a retrospective cohort analysis of 106 consecutive patients with Knosp high-grade pituitary adenomas with parasellar extension who underwent surgery via a primary endoscopic transsphenoidal approach between 2003 and 2017. Biological tumor characteristics (surgical status of invasiveness and tumor texture, 2017 WHO classification, proliferation rate), extent of resection, and complication rate were correlated with parasellar extension grades 3A, 3B, and 4 on preoperative MRI studies.

RESULTS

Invasiveness was significantly less common in grade 3A (44%) than in grade 3B (72%, p = 0.037) and grade 4 (100%, p < 0.001) adenomas. Fibrous tumor texture was significantly more common in grade 4 (52%) compared to grade 3A (20%, p = 0.002), but not compared to grade 3B (28%) adenomas. Functioning macroadenomas had a significantly higher rate of invasiveness than nonfunctioning adenomas (91% vs 55%, p = 0.002). Mean proliferation rate assessed by MIB-1 was > 3% in all groups but without significant difference between the groups (grade 3A, 3.2%; 3B, 3.9%; 4, 3.7%). Rates of endocrine remission/gross-total resection were significantly higher in grade 3A (64%) than in grade 3B (33%, p = 0.021) and grade 4 (0%, p < 0.001) adenomas. In terms of complication rates, no significant difference was observed between grades.

CONCLUSIONS

According to the authors’ data, the biological behavior of pituitary adenomas varies significantly between parasellar extension patterns. Adenomas with extension into the superior CS compartment have a lower rate of invasive growth than adenomas extending into the inferior CS compartment or encasing the carotid artery. Consequently, a significantly higher rate of remission can be achieved in grade 3A than in grade 3B and grade 4 adenomas. Therefore, the distinction into grades 3A, 3B, and 4 is of importance for prediction of adenoma invasion and surgical treatment considerations.