Endonasal transsphenoidal removal of tuberculum sellae meningiomas: technical note

Shon W Cook, Zachary Smith, Daniel F Kelly
Neurosurgery 2004, 55 (1): 239-44; discussion 244-6

OBJECTIVE: Tuberculum sellae meningiomas traditionally have been removed through a transcranial approach. More recently, the sublabial transsphenoidal approach has been used to remove such tumors. Here, we describe use of the direct endonasal transsphenoidal approach for removal of suprasellar meningiomas.

METHODS: Three women, aged 32, 34, and 55 years, each sought treatment for visual loss and headaches. In each patient, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) showed a suprasellar mass causing optic chiasmal and optic nerve compression (average size, 2 x 2 cm). All three patients underwent tumor removal via an endonasal approach with the operating microscope. Suprasellar exposure was facilitated by removal of the posterior planum sphenoidale. Ultrasound was used to help define tumor location before dural opening. The extent of tumor removal was verified with angled endoscopes in all patients, and with intraoperative MRI in one patient. The surgical dural and bony defects were repaired in all patients with abdominal fat, titanium mesh, and 2 to 3 days of cerebrospinal fluid lumbar drainage. Nasal packing was not used.

RESULTS: There were no postoperative cerebrospinal fluid leaks or meningitis. One patient required a reoperation 2 weeks after surgery to reduce the size of her fat graft, which was causing optic nerve compression; within 24 hours, her vision rapidly improved. At 3 months after surgery, all three patients had normal vision, no new endocrinopathy, and no residual tumor on MRI. At 10 months after surgery, one patient had a small asymptomatic tumor regrowth seen on MRI.

CONCLUSION: The endonasal approach with the operating microscope appears to be an effective minimally invasive method for removing relatively small midline tuberculum sellae meningiomas. Intraoperative ultrasound, the micro-Doppler probe, and angled endoscopes are useful adjuncts for safely and completely removing such tumors. Longer follow-up is needed to monitor for tumor recurrence in these patients.

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