Transcranial transsphenoidal approach for tuberculum sellae meningiomas

Acta Neurochir (Wien). 2000;142(7):751-6; discussion 756-7. doi: 10.1007/s007010070089.


Objective: A series of 21 patients with tuberculum sellae meningioma who received surgical treatment is reported.

Patients and methods: All 9 females and 12 males (mean age 49 years) presented visual disturbances of varying degrees in either one or both eyes. Eighteen of the tumours were less than 3 cm in size, and 3 were larger. Tumour resection of uniform surgical technique was performed in all cases. Following a bicoronal scalp incision, bifrontal craniotomy combined with removal of the orbital rim bilaterally was performed. The frontal dura was opened bilaterally, and the most anterior portion of the superior sagittal sinus was transected. Bifrontal retraction and arachnoid dissection along the proximal olfactory tracts brought the tumour into view. Additional dissection of the interhemispheric fissure extended the operative field to the anterior communicating artery. The anterior skull base was drilled out to resect the basal part of the tumour. In all cases, the optic canal and sphenoid sinus, and additionally in some cases the ethmoid sinus were opened. The tumour uniformly extended inferomedially to the optic nerve, and direct visualization of this portion of the tumour was possible with our approach. The opened paranasal sinuses were reconstructed with adipose tissue harvested from the patient's abdomen and the pericranial flap.

Results: In all patients, total or almost total resection of the tumour was accomplished. Postoperatively, visual function was improved in 11 patients, was unchanged in 8, and worsened in 2. There were no operative deaths. Cerebrospinal fluid leakage was occurred in two patients but could be conservatively managed. In a mean 3-year follow-up, tumour recurrence was observed in only one patient who presented a malignant histology.

Conclusions: We are confident that our surgical approach has great clinical value in surgical resection of tuberculum sellae meningioma. The good accessibility to a tumour extending inferomedially to the optic nerve should, in particular, be stressed.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Craniotomy / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Meningeal Neoplasms / pathology
  • Meningeal Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Meningioma / pathology
  • Meningioma / surgery*
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome