A Multicenter, Propensity Score-Matched Assessment of Endoscopic Versus Microscopic Approaches in the Management of Pituitary Adenomas

Neurosurgery. 2023 Oct 1;93(4):794-801. doi: 10.1227/neu.0000000000002497. Epub 2023 Apr 14.


Background and objectives: There is considerable controversy as to which of the 2 operating modalities (microsurgical or endoscopic transnasal surgery) currently used to resect pituitary adenomas (PAs) is the safest and most effective intervention. We compared rates of clinical outcomes of patients with PAs who underwent resection by either microsurgical or endoscopic transnasal surgery.

Methods: To independently assess the outcomes of each modality type, we sought to isolate endoscopic and microscopic PA surgeries with a 1:1 tight-caliper (0.01) propensity score-matched analysis using a multicenter, neurosurgery-specific database. Surgeries were performed between 2017 and 2020, with data collected retrospectively from 12 international institutions on 4 continents. Matching was based on age, previous neurological deficit, American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) score, tumor functionality, tumor size, and Knosp score. Univariate and multivariate analyses were performed.

Results: Among a pool of 2826 patients, propensity score matching resulted in 600 patients from 9 surgery centers being analyzed. Multivariate analysis showed that microscopic surgery had a 1.91 odds ratio (OR) ( P = .03) of gross total resection (GTR) and shorter operative duration ( P < .01). However, microscopic surgery also had a 7.82 OR ( P < .01) for intensive care unit stay, 2.08 OR ( P < .01) for intraoperative cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leak, 2.47 OR ( P = .02) for postoperative syndrome of inappropriate antidiuretic hormone secretion (SIADH), and was an independent predictor for longer postoperative stay (β = 2.01, P < .01). Overall, no differences in postoperative complications or 3- to 6-month outcomes were seen by surgical approach.

Conclusion: Our international, multicenter matched analysis suggests microscopic approaches for pituitary tumor resection may offer better GTR rates, albeit with increased intensive care unit stay, CSF leak, SIADH, and hospital utilization. Better prospective studies can further validate these findings as matching patients for outcome analysis remains challenging. These results may provide insight into surgical benchmarks at different centers, offer room for further registry studies, and identify best practices.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adenoma* / pathology
  • Adenoma* / surgery
  • Cerebrospinal Fluid Leak / etiology
  • Endoscopy / methods
  • Humans
  • Inappropriate ADH Syndrome* / etiology
  • Pituitary Neoplasms* / pathology
  • Pituitary Neoplasms* / surgery
  • Propensity Score
  • Prospective Studies
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome