Endonasal microscopic removal of clival chordomas

Nasrin Fatemi, Joshua R Dusick, Alessandra A Gorgulho, Carlos A Mattozo, Parham Moftakhar, Antonio A F De Salles, Daniel F Kelly
Surgical Neurology 2008, 69 (4): 331-8

INTRODUCTION: Clival chordomas have traditionally been removed using a variety of anterior and lateral skull base approaches. Herein, we evaluate the outcomes of patients who underwent an extended endonasal transsphenoidal removal of a clival chordoma.

METHOD: All consecutive patients with a clival chordoma treated using an endonasal microscope approach were identified. In 8 cases, frameless surgical navigation was used, and in 4 cases, endoscopic assistance was used. Patients treated with prior radiotherapy were excluded.

RESULT: Over 5 years, 18 procedures were performed on 14 patients (7 females; mean age, 47 years). Patients were followed from 3 to 58 months (median, 20 months). Mean tumor diameter was 32 +/- 17 mm; 7 (50%) patients had intradural extension. Postoperative MRIs after the initial operation showed gross total, near-total (>90%), and subtotal resection in 43%, 43%, and 14% of patients, respectively. Use of the endoscope was associated with gross total or near-total tumor removal in 4 of 4 cases. Tumor regrowth occurred in 2 (14%) cases 10 and 12 months after the initial surgery and before radiotherapy. Two patients had multiple operations, in one as a planned staged operation, and in the other, 3 additional debulkings were performed despite an initial gross total removal. Nine patients, all with CS invasion, had subsequent stereotactic radiation. Of 10 patients with cranial neuropathy, 80% improved or resolved including 75% and 67% of sixth and fifth CN palsies, respectively. Complications included one each of adrenal insufficiency and chemical meningitis. There were no CSF leaks or new neurological deficits.

CONCLUSION: In this small series with relatively short follow-up, endonasal microscopic removal of clival chordomas proved safe and elfective with gross total or near-total removal in 86% of patients and improvement of cranial neuropathy in 80% of patients. Endoscopy for aiding tumor removal and assessing completeness of resection, as well as surgical navigation, are recommended for all cases.

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