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Skull base surgery. 1999; 9(2): 109–117.
PMCID: PMC1656809

Endoscopic Endonasal Transsphenoidal Approach

An Additional Reason in Support of Surgery in the Management of Pituitary Lesions


The outcome of endoscopic endonasal transsphenoidal surgery in 10 patients with pituitary adenomas was compared with that of traditional transnasal transsphenoidal approach (TTA) in 20 subjects. Among the 10 individuals subjected to “pure endoscopy,” 2 had a microadenoma, 1 an intrasellar macroadenoma, 4 had a macroadenoma with suprasellar expansion, 2 had a macroadenoma with supra-parasellar expansion, and 1 a residual tumor; 5 had acromegaly and 5 had a nonfunctioning adenoma (NFA). Among the patients subjected to TTA, 4 had a microadenoma, 2 had an intrasellar macroadenoma, 6 had a macroadenoma with suprasellar expansion, 4 had a macroadenoma with supra-parasellar expansion, and 4 had a residual tumor; 9 patients had acromegaly, 1 hyperprolactinemia, 1 Cushing's disease, and 9 a NFA. At the macroscopic evaluation, tumor removal was total (100%) after endoscopy in 9 patients and after TTA in 14 patients. Six months after surgery, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) confirmed the total tumor removal in 21 of 23 patients (91.3%). Circulating growth hormone (GH) and insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I) significantly decreased 6 months after surgery in all 14 acromegalic patients: normalization of plasma IGF-I levels was obtained in 4 of 5 patients after the endoscopic procedure and in 4 of 9 patients after TTA. Before surgery, pituitary hormone deficiency was present in 14 out of 30 patients: pituitary function improved in 4 patients, remaining unchanged in the other 10 patients. Visual field defects were present before surgery in 4 patients, and improved in all. Early surgical results in the group of 10 patients who underwent endoscopic pituitary tumor removal were at least equivalent to those of standard TTA, with excellent postoperative course. Postsurgical hospital stay was significantly shorter (3.1 ± 0.4 vs. 6.2 ± 0.3 days, p < 0.001) after endoscopy as compared to TTA.

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Selected References

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