A Survey on Pituitary Surgery in Italy

World Neurosurg. 2019 Mar;123:e440-e449. doi: 10.1016/j.wneu.2018.11.186. Epub 2018 Nov 27.


Background: Pituitary tumors are a heterogeneous group of lesions that are usually benign. Therefore, a proper understanding of the anatomy, physiology, and pathology is mandatory to achieve favorable outcomes. Accordingly, diagnostic tests and treatment guidelines should be determined and implemented. Thus, we decided to perform a multicenter study among Italian neurosurgical centers performing pituitary surgery to provide an actual depiction from the neurosurgical standpoint.

Methods: On behalf of the SINch (Società Italiana di Neurochirurgia), a survey was undertaken with the participants to explore the activities in the field of pituitary surgery within 41 public institutions.

Results: Of the 41 centers, 37 participated in the present study. The total number of neurosurgical procedures performed in 2016 was 1479. Most of the procedures were performed using the transsphenoidal approach (1320 transsphenoidal [1204 endoscopic, 53 microscopic, 53 endoscope-assisted microscopic] vs. 159 transcranial). A multidisciplinary tumor board is convened regularly in 32 of 37 centers, and a research laboratory is present in 18 centers.

Conclusions: Diagnosing pituitary/hypothalamus disorders and treating them is the result of teamwork, composed of several diverse experts. Regarding neurosurgery, our findings have confirmed the central role of the transsphenoidal approach, with preference toward the endoscopic technique. Better outcomes can be expected at centers with a multidisciplinary team and a full, or part of a, residency program, with a greater surgical caseload.

Keywords: Craniopharyngiomas; Endoscopic endonasal surgery; Multidisciplinary team; Pituitary adenomas; Pituitary surgery; Pituitary/hypothalamus; Transsphenoidal surgery.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adenoma / epidemiology
  • Adenoma / surgery*
  • Central Nervous System Cysts / epidemiology
  • Central Nervous System Cysts / surgery*
  • Craniopharyngioma / epidemiology
  • Craniopharyngioma / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Italy / epidemiology
  • Needs Assessment
  • Neurosurgical Procedures / statistics & numerical data*
  • Patient Care Team / organization & administration
  • Pituitary Gland / surgery
  • Pituitary Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Pituitary Neoplasms / surgery*