Endoscopic transsphenoidal approach
Endoscopic transsphenoidal surgery is associated with higher gross tumor removal and lower incidence of septal perforation in patients with pituitary adenoma. Future large-scale prospective randomized controlled trials are needed to verify these findings 12)
The interest in endoscopic endonasal transsphenoidal surgery for the treatment of sellar and perisellar lesions is growing as a consequence of the results achieved in the past years and of the interest by patients, endocrinologists, and neurosurgeons. Furthermore, the special ability of the endoscope to offer a wider and detailed view of anatomic structures is a major advantage that increases the attention of neurosurgeons who seek less invasive procedures and better results. Most neurosurgeons performing transsphenoidal surgery, however, are not used to endoscopy, and changing from microsurgical to endoscopic technique can be difficult and even discouraging, often because of difficulties in the initial phase of the procedure.
With the purpose of helping minimize some of the difficulties, Cavallo et al., described useful tips and tricks that mainly concern familiarization with the endoscopic equipment, details of the transsphenoidal anatomy, and endoscopic skills. They stressed the steps and details that they judge most important.
They believed that by following these recommendations neurosurgeons can overcome, or even avoid, the difficulties frequently encountered transsphenoidal surgery, allowing them to safely and efficiently perform endonasal transsphenoidal endoscopic procedures 13).
Castle-Kirszbaum et al. described the skeletal, vascular and neural anatomical variations that could be encountered from the nasal phase, through the sphenoid phase, to the sellar phase of the operative exposure. A preoperative checklist is also provided 14)
A study assessed the long-term impact of endoscopic skull base surgery on olfaction, sinonasal symptoms, mucociliary clearance time (MCT), and quality of life (QoL). Patients with pituitary adenomas underwent TTEA (n = 38), while patients with other benign parasellar tumours who underwent an EEA with vascularised septal flap reconstruction (n = 17) were enrolled in this prospective study between 2009 and 2012. Sinonasal symptoms (Visual Analogue Scale), subjective olfactometry (Barcelona Smell Test-24, BAST-24), MCT (saccharin test), and QoL (short form SF-36, rhinosinusitis outcome measure/RSOM) were evaluated before, and 12 months after, surgery. At baseline, sinonasal symptoms, MCT, BAST-24, and QoL were similar between groups. Twelve months after surgery, both TTEA and EEA groups experienced smell impairment compared to baseline. Moreover, EEA (but not TTEA) patients reported increased posterior nasal discharge and longer MCTs compared to baseline. No significant changes in olfactometry or QoL were detected in either group 12 months after surgery. Over the long-term, expanded skull base surgery, using EEA, produced more sinonasal symptoms (including loss of smell) and longer MCTs than pituitary surgery (TTEA). EEA showed no long-term impact on smell test or QoL 15).
All endoscopic transphenoidal pituitary surgeries performed from January 1, 2015, to October 24, 2017, with complete data were evaluated in a retrospective single-institution study. The electronic medical record was reviewed for patient factors, tumor characteristics, and cost variables during each hospital stay. Multivariate linear regression was performed using Stata software.
The analysis included 190 patients and average length of stay was 4.71 days. Average total in-hospital cost was $28,624 (95% confidence interval $25,094-$32,155) with average total direct cost of $19,444 ($17,136-$21,752) and total indirect cost of $9181 ($7592-$10,409). On multivariate regression, post-operative cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leak was associated with a significant increase in all cost variables, including a total cost increase of $40,981 ($15,474-$66,489, P = .002). Current smoking status was associated with an increased total cost of $20,189 ($6,638-$33,740, P = .004). Self-reported Caucasian ethnicity was associated with a significant decrease in total cost of $6646 (-$12,760 to -$532, P = .033). Post-operative DI was associated with increased costs across all variables that were not statistically significant.
Post-operative CSF leak, current smoking status, and non-Caucasian ethnicity were associated with significantly increased costs. Understanding of cost drivers of endoscopic transphenoidal pituitary surgery is critical for future cost control and value creation initiatives 16).