Objective: To assess the role that neuronavigation plays in assisting endoscopic transsphenoidal reoperations for recurrent pituitary adenomas.
Methods: During a 45-month period, 19 endoscopic endonasal transsphenoidal reoperations were performed for recurrent pituitary adenomas. In 11 of 19 patients, the procedure was performed with the aid of an optically guided system. Clinical records were reviewed retrospectively, with attention to the following: comparison of baseline clinical data, the duration of surgery, and the postoperative course and complications of both image-guided and non-image-guided endoscopic reoperations. In addition, to test the reliability of the neuronavigation system, we made measurements of intraoperative accuracy in five additional transnasal endoscopic procedures in "virgin" noses and sphenoidal sinuses.
Results: In both groups studied, we found no difference with regard to either morbidity or mortality, which were null. The mean setup time was 13 minutes shorter in non-image-guided procedures (P = 0.021), and the operative time was 36 minutes shorter in image-guided procedures (P = 0.038). No other statistically significant differences were found between the two groups. In all cases, we found that the system performed without malfunction. Continuous information regarding instrument location and trajectory was provided to the surgeon. Measurements of the intraoperative accuracy in the axial, coronal, and sagittal planes indicated a mean intraoperatively verified system error of 1.6 +/- 0.6 mm.
Conclusion: Neuronavigation can be applied during endonasal transsphenoidal endoscopic surgery and requires a minimal amount of time. It makes reoperation easier, faster, and probably safer.