Assessment of post-operative healing following endoscopic, transnasal, transsphenoidal pituitary surgery without formal sellar grafting

Am J Otolaryngol. 2020 Mar-Apr;41(2):102306. doi: 10.1016/j.amjoto.2019.102306. Epub 2019 Oct 29.


Introduction: Multiple options exist for sellar reconstruction after endoscopic transnasal, transsphenoidal surgery (TSS) including free mucosa, fat, bone and synthetic materials. The objective of this study was to assess healing and mucosalization of the sellar face following TSS without formal sellar grafting or reconstruction.

Methods: Single institution retrospective chart review was conducted for patients undergoing TSS without intraoperative CSF leaks between January 2014 and March 2017 at Rush University Medical Center. No formal sellar reconstruction was performed for the entire patient group. Follow-up endoscopic data and clinical notes were coded for time to mucosalization of the sella as well as degree of abnormal mucosal healing, epistaxis, crusting and scarring.

Results: 83 patients were included in this study. Mean time to mucosalization was 119 days (range, 17 to 402 days). Incidence of abnormal mucosal healing, epistaxis, crusting and scarring increased from the first to the second postoperative visit but trended down by the third visit. Nasal crusting was the most common finding, followed by abnormal mucosal healing. Chi square analysis showed smoking to be associated with prolonged time to full mucosalization of the sella. Two patients (2.4%) had post-operative CSF leaks requiring lumbar drain placement.

Conclusion: Adequate sellar healing is achievable in all cases without formal grafting or reconstruction after TSS. Great care must be exercised given the small inherent risk of unmasking a subclinical intraoperative CSF leak. Patients should be followed closely endoscopically during the first four months after TSS to minimize the impact of crusting.

Keywords: Cerebrospinal fluid leak; Endoscopic surgery; Minimally invasive surgery; Pituitary adenoma; Reconstruction; Sella.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cerebrospinal Fluid Leak
  • Endoscopy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Otorhinolaryngologic Surgical Procedures / methods*
  • Plastic Surgery Procedures / methods*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sella Turcica / physiopathology*
  • Sella Turcica / surgery*
  • Smoking / adverse effects
  • Surgical Wound / physiopathology*
  • Wound Healing*
  • Young Adult