Endoscopic Endonasal Surgery for Pituitary Apoplexy: Evidence On a 75-Case Series From a Tertiary Care Center

Matteo Zoli, Laura Milanese, Marco Faustini-Fustini, Federica Guaraldi, Sofia Asioli, Corrado Zenesini, Alberto Righi, Giorgio Frank, Maria Pia Foschini, Carmelo Sturiale, Ernesto Pasquini, Diego Mazzatenta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background The optimal management of pituitary apoplexy (PA) remains debated. The aim of this study was to assess the outcome of the transsphenoidal approach for PA in a large surgical experience. Materials Each consecutive case of PA consecutively operated by endoscopic endonasal approach from our tertiary care center, from 1998 to 2015, was included in this series. Results Seventy-five patients (47 male; mean age 52.4 ± 16.2 years) were included. Mean follow-up was 69.3 ± 46.7 months. On admission, all patients presented with abrupt severe headache (100%), associated with anterior hypopituitarism in 51 patients (68%), visual disturbances in 55 (73.4%), ophthalmoplegia in 38 (50.7%), and a remarkable reduction of consciousness in 2 (2.6%). Apoplexy proved to be ischemic in 35 patients (46.7%) and hemorrhagic in 40 (53.3%). Patients with hemorrhagic necrosis presented more often with major suprasellar expansion (P = 0.012) Radical removal was achieved in 60 cases (80%). Surgical morbidity consisted in one case of postoperative cerebrospinal fluid leak (1.3%). Anterior hypopituitarism worsened in 15 cases (20%), and diabetes insipidus occurred in 4 cases (5.3%). Ophthalmoplegia improved/normalized in 71% and visual symptoms in 85.5% of the patients, with better results achieved in ischemic forms (P = 0.043). The 2 comatose patients regained normal consciousness. Conclusions The endoscopic endonasal approach represents a valid, effective, and safe technique in the management of PA. Favorable outcomes can be achieved by referring patients to dedicated pituitary centers with a multidisciplinary team. Further studies are still needed to define criteria for surgical indication and to identify outcome predictors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)331-338
Number of pages8
JournalWorld Neurosurgery
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 2017


  • Cranial nerve palsy
  • Endonasal approach
  • Endoscopic pituitary apoplexy
  • Headache
  • Hemorrhagic necrosis
  • Ischemic necrosis
  • Pituitary apoplexy score
  • Visual disturbances

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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