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Appearance of fluid content in Rathke's cleft cyst is associated with clinical features and postoperative recurrence rates.

Pituitary 2024 May 19
PURPOSE: The contents of Rathke's cleft cysts (RCCs) vary from clear and slightly viscous to purulent. Surgical treatment of symptomatic RCCs involves removing the cyst contents, whereas additional cyst-wall opening to prevent reaccumulation is at the surgeon's discretion. The macroscopic findings of the cyst content can reflect the nature of RCCs and would aid in surgical method selection.

METHODS: We retrospectively reviewed the records of 42 patients with symptomatic RCCs who underwent transsphenoidal surgery at our institute between January 2010 and March 2022. According to the intraoperative findings, cyst contents were classified into type A (purulent), type B (turbid white with mixed semisolids), or type C (clear and slightly viscous). Clinical and imaging findings and early recurrence rate (within two years) were compared according to the cyst content type.

RESULTS: There were 42 patients classified into three types. Patients with type C were the oldest (65.4 ± 10.4 years), and type A included more females (92.9%). For magnetic resonance imaging, type-A patients showed contrast-enhanced cyst wall (92.9%), type-B patients had intracystic nodules (57.1%), and all type-C patients showed low T1 and high T2 intensities with larger cyst volumes. Fewer asymptomatic patients had type C. Preoperative pituitary dysfunction was most common in type A (71.4%). Early recurrence was observed in types A and C, which were considered candidates for cyst-wall opening.

CONCLUSION: The clinical characteristics and surgical prognosis of RCCs depend on the nature of their contents.

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