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Surgical Treatment of Sellar Region · PDF fileSurgical Treatment of Sellar Region Neoplasms ... tumors with suprasellar expansion ... patients with extrasel1ar tumor extension have

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Turkis/i Neurosiirgery 7: 1 - 4, 1997


Baysefer: Sel/ar Neoplasnis

Surgical Treatment of Sellar Region Neoplasms

Sella Blgesi Neoplazmlannin Cerrahi Tedavisi



Glhane Military Medical SchooL,Department of Neurosurgery, Ankara, Turkey

Abstract: The result of surgical therapy of sellar regionneoplasms in 107 patients treated between 1986-1995 isreviewed. In this series there were 89 pituitary adenomas,8 meningiomas, 9 craniopharyngiomas, and one mucocele.Transcranial, transphenoidal, and combined transcranial-transsphenoidal approaches were used for surgicaltherapy. Three patients died postoperatively. Ten patientshad complications related to surgery; CSF leak in threepatients, diabetes insipidus in four, meningitis in two, andabscess in one. Radiation therapy was administered to fourpatients postoperatively.

Key Words: Craniopharyngioma, meningioma, pituitaryadenoma, sellar region


The close relationship of ne ural, endocrine,vascular, meningeal, and skeletal tissues in the sellarand parasellar region s poses special surgicalproblems in a smaIl anatomical area (21). Most ofthe pathological entities encountered in this area arepituitary adenomas, meningiomas, andcraniopharyngiomas. Clinical manifestations of thesetumors may be similar (18,20). Introduction ofmicrosurgical techniques to the surgical treatmentof sellar tumors increased successful outcome. In this

study, we reviewed the result of surgical treatmentin 107 sellar region neoplasms.

zet : Bu alismada 1986-1995 yillari arasinda, sellablgesi neoplazmi nedeni ile cerrahi tedavi uygulanan107 olgu incelendi. Olgularin 89'u hipofiz adenomu, 8'imeningioma, dokuzu kraniofaringioma ve biri mukoselidi. Tmr ikarilmasi iin transkranial, transsfenoidal vetranssfenoidal-transkranial bilesik yaklasimlar kullanildi. hasta ameliyat sonrasi dnemde ld. On hastadacerrahiye bagli komplikasyon gelisti; hastada rinore,drt hastada diabetes insipitus, iki hastada menenjit, birhastada abse. Ameliyat sonrasinda drt hastayaradyoterapi uygulandi.

Anahtar Szckler: Hipofiz adenomu, kraniofaringioma,meningioma, sella blgesi


Between 1986 and 1995, 107 pa tien ts wi th sellarregion neoplasm were treated surgically. Fifty-fivepatients were female and 52 were male, ranging inage from 8 to 67 years. Initial medical records of thepatients were reviewed in detail and the clinical,laboratory, and radiographic data were collected.

Pituitary adenomas were classified accordingto radiological findings as proposed by HardyandVesina (7).

In 89 patients with pituitary adenomas 79


Tiirkish Neiirosiirgenj 7: 1 - 4, 1997

patients had hormonally funetioning adenomas,with high blood levels of prolaetin (PRL) in 48cases, growth hormone (GH) in 20,both GH and PRLin 7, and adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) in 4.In 10 patients pituitary adenomas were hormon einaetive.

All 9 craniopharyngiomas were eystic and fiveof them had cakification.

Of 8 meningiomas 4 were clinoidal, 2 weretuberculum sellae meningioma, and two werecavernous.

Presenting symptoms are given in Table i.

Table i. Clinical findings in 107 patients.

Finding Number of patientsHeadache63Amenorrhea 33Loss of vision 24

Acromegaly 19Galactorrhea 11

Cranial nerve palsy(3,4,5,6) 8Polydipsy 7Polyuria 7Impotence 4Obesity 4Exophthalmos 3Seizure 3

The patient with mucocele, and 68 pituitaryadenomas (including 47 PRL-secreting adenomas, 14GH-secreting adenomas, 3 PRL-GH secretingadenomas, 1 ACTH-secreting adenoma, and 3 non-secreting adenomas) underwent transsphenoidalsurgery.

30 patients with 13 pituitary adenomas(including 1 PRL-secreting adenoma, 2 GH-secretingadenomas, 3 PRL-GH-secreting adenomas, 2 ACTH-secreting adenomas, and 5 non-secreting adenomas),9 craniopharyngiomas, and 8 meningiomasunderwent transcranial surgery. Eight pituitaryadenomas (inciuding 4 GH-secreting adenomas, 1PRL-GH-secreting adenoma,I ACTH-secretingadenoma and 2 non-secreting adenomas) weretreated by transcranial-transsphenoidal approach(multiple procedures).


Bnysefer: Sellnr Neoplnsl11s


In eight transsphenoidal approaches, thetumors were subtotally excised not to damage theoptic nerve and vascular stmctures. Because of thisproblem, in cas es with lateral extension anddumbbell shape tumors, we preferred transcranialapproach in second surgery in the following 6-12months.

Forty-seven of 48 patients with PRL-secretingpituitary tumors underwent transsphenoidalsurgery. In 45 patients, PRL values were in normalrange 20ng/ml) by the 8th week of surgery.Thirteen patients who were in remission reportedreturn of normal menstmal cycle and 8 patients nolonger had galactorrhea. In three cases with subtotalremoval the adenomas had significant extrasellarextension.

Fourteen of 20 patients with GH-secretingadenomas underwent transsphenoidal surgery.Twelve of 14 patients had remission in this groupand GH values were in nonnal range 10ng/ml).

Thirteen of 89 pituitary tumors (1 PRL, 2 GH,3PRL-GH, 2 ACTH secreting, 5 non-secretingadenomas) were removed by transcranial surgery.In two patients with subtotal removal radiationtherapy was administered postoperatively. Thesepatients are in remission.

Five of 9 patients with craniopharyngioma whounderwent transcranial surgery had solid-cakifiedportions and eysts, and 4 of them showed extensionto the third ventricle. In 7 cases total removal was

performed. Postoperative radiotherapy wasadministered to a patient after subtotal removaL. Onepatient underwent secondary surgery due torecurrence .

Of 8 transcranially operated meningiomas allwere excised totally except one cavernousmeningioma.

Although three patients developedcerebrospinal fluid leak after surgery, all resolvedwith conservative therapy. Four patients developedpermanent diabetes insipidus. Three patientsdeveloped infeetion, meningitis in two, abscess inone. Three patients died after surgery; one frommeningitis and the others from cerebral infarction.

The histopathological findings, postoperativetreatment, complication and mortality are

Turkish Neuyosiirgeri; 7: i - 4, 1997

Table II. Results of surgical treatment of sel1ar regionneoplasms.






Histopathologic FeaturesPituitary Adenoma




CH Secreting Adenoma


PRL+CH Secreting Adenoma


ACTH Secreting Adenoma


Non-Secreting Adenoma










CompIicationsCSF Leakage










CH: growth harrnone, PRL: prolactm, ACTH:adenocorticotropic harrnone, CSF: cerebrospinal fluid,DI: diabetes insipidus

summarized in Table II.


Kramer (10) pointed out that the managementof intracranial tumors had undergone dramaticchanges in the last 40 years. As remission has nowbecome a reality in an increasing proportion ofpatients, we have learned that the success of therapyshould now be measured by more than meresurvival.

The operative approaches to pituitaryadenomas have been described in many reports(1,12,14). The tumor's configuration determines thechoice between the transcranial and transsphenoidalapproaches (21).The transsphenoidal approach is thetechnique of choice for tumors occupying the sel1a,whether or not there is sphenoid extension, and fortumors with suprasellar expansion without lateralextension. Transsphenoidal approach iscontraindicated for tumors with significant lateral

Baysefer: Sel/ar Neoplasnis

parasellar extension or massiye suprasellarexpansion (l2). We do not recommendtranssphenoidal approaches to the tum or s withlateral and suprasellar extension because ofinadequate exposure and decompression. Besides,patients with extrasel1ar tumor extension have a poorresponse to surgery (12). In Wilson' s series (22), only1 % of the pituitary tumors was treated bytranscranial surgery. In our study, this ratio was14 %.

There are occasional cases in which the

consistency of tumor that is encountered via thetranssphenoidal approach is such as to defy anadequate decompression (14,21). In our 8 patients,we had to use multiple procedures ( transcranial-transsphenoidal ) because of the inadequatedecompression and dumbbell-shaped tumor. In twoof these patients (2 GH-secreting pituitaryadenomas), tumors were excised subtotally andradiotherapy was administered afterwards. Pituitaryadenomas have been treated successful1y in manycases by subtotal tumor resection and radiationtherapy (18,21).

There is continuous controversy regarding theoptimum approach for the treatment ofcraniopharyngiomas (6,8,13). The best resultsconcerning tumor remission in a large series ofpatients with craniopharyngiomas have beenreported by Baskin and Wilson (3). Baskin andWilson treated 50 of 74 patients withcraniopharyngiomas via transcranial approach. Inthe present study, crani otomy was performed in allpatients with large extension into the frontal fossaand the third ventride. Total removal of these tumors

may be difficult in many cases (15,19). In two patients,subtotal removal was performed. Some authors haveadvocated radiotherapy as an adjunct to surgicalresection (9,15). Kramer (10) reported excellentresults with subtotal removal and su

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