Pure endoscopic endonasal approach for pituitary adenomas: early surgical results in 200 patients and comparison with previous microsurgical series

Neurosurgery. 2008 May;62(5):1006-15; discussion 1015-7. doi: 10.1227/01.neu.0000325862.83961.12.


Objective: The aim of this study was to report the results of a consecutive series of patients undergoing pituitary surgery using a pure endoscopic endonasal approach and to evaluate the efficacy and safety of this procedure.

Patients and methods: We reviewed 200 consecutive patients with pituitary adenoma who underwent purely endoscopic transsphenoidal resection of their lesions. The patients' clinical outcomes, including remission rates, degrees of tumor removal, and complications, were evaluated and compared with a previous microscopic series.

Results: There were 111 nonfunctioning adenomas and 34 growth hormone-secreting, 27 adrenocorticotropin hormone-secreting, 25 prolactin-secreting, and 3 thyroid-stimulating hormone-secreting adenomas. The degree of gross total removal for tumors with suprasellar or parasellar extension and without cavernous sinus involvement was 96% and for intrasellar lesions was 98%. After a median follow-up period of 19 months, the remission results for patients with functioning adenomas were 71% for growth hormone-secreting, 81% for adrenocorticotropin hormone-secreting, and 88% for prolactin-secreting adenomas, with no recurrence at the time of the last follow-up. This compares with similar results reported from series using a standard microsurgical approach (growth hormone-secreting adenomas, 67%; adrenocorticotropin hormone-secreting adenomas, 78%; and prolactin-secreting adenomas, 62%). Endoscopic surgery for recurrent or residual nonfunctioning adenomas that had been previously treated using a microscopic approach revealed in the majority of cases a more limited exposure during the initial surgery, frequently with incomplete tumor removal. Complication rates have been low, and the average length of hospital stay was reduced.

Conclusion: A purely endoscopic approach for pituitary adenoma treatment is a safe and effective alternative to the traditional microscopic procedure. Although our results reveal excellent tumor-removal rates, comparable remission rates in functioning tumors, and a very low rate of complications, additional studies with longer follow-up periods are required to confirm whether this approach should be considered the preferred procedure for pituitary surgery.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuroendoscopy* / methods
  • Pituitary Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Recovery of Function
  • Sphenoid Sinus / surgery*
  • Treatment Outcome