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Although complications of transseptosphenoidal (TSS) pituitary surgery have been discussed in the literature, there has not been an analysis of complication rates related to clinical features and the nature of the tumor. A retrospective review of 366 TSS procedures (354 patients) for excision of pituitary adenomas evaluated the incidence and management of perioperative complications. The mortality rate was 0.82%. The most frequently encountered complications were transient diabetes insipidus (8.74%) and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) rhinorrhea (4.10%). Other complications included exacerbation of visual acuity and visual field defects, hemorrhage, hydrocephalus, and meningitis. The factors evaluated were gender, age, tumor size, hormone secretory status, and any history of prior pituitary surgery.
There was a significantly higher incidence of transient diabetes insipidus in patients with hormone-secreting tumors. Minor and total complication rates were significantly increased in microadenomas, hormone-secreting tumors, in female patients, and in patients less than 60 years of age reflecting the increased incidence of transient diabetes insipidus in young female patients with hormone-secreting tumors. Observed intraoperative CSF leaks predisposed to postoperative CSF rhinorrhea. There were no identifiable risk factors for major complications.