OBJECTIVE The endoscopic endonasal transcavernous approach with interdural pituitary transposition provides surgical access to the posterior clinoids and interpeduncular cistern. Prior to posterior clinoidectomy, selective coagulation and transection of the inferior hypophyseal artery (IHA) is recommended to prevent uncontrolled tearing of the artery and its avulsion from the wall of the cavernous carotid artery. The authors' preliminary experience has shown that unilateral sacrifice of the IHA caused no permanent endocrine dysfunction. In this study, they investigated the pituitary function in the setting of bilateral sacrifice of IHAs and pituitary transposition. METHODS All patients with normal preoperative pituitary function who underwent endoscopic endonasal bilateral posterior clinoidectomy with bilateral IHA sacrifice between March 2010 and December 2016 were included and retrospectively evaluated. All data regarding pituitary function were collected. The degree of pituitary gland manipulation was estimated based on tumor size on preoperative MRI. An angle between a line from the point where the gland meets the floor of the sella to the highest point of the tumor and the horizontal plane of the sellar floor, or access angle, was also measured. Posterior pituitary bright spots on pre- and postoperative T1-weighted MRI were also reported. RESULTS Twenty patients had bilateral transcavernous posterior clinoidectomies with coagulation of both IHAs. There were 13 chordomas, 3 epidermoid cysts, 2 chondrosarcomas, 1 meningioma, and 1 hemangiopericytoma. The mean follow-up was 19 months (range 13-84 months). Two patients experienced transient diabetes insipidus (DI) requiring desmopressin, which resolved before hospital discharge. One patient (with chordoma) developed delayed permanent DI, and a second patient (with hemangiopericytoma) developed permanent DI and panhypopituitarism. The access angle was higher in the group with pituitary dysfunction (47.25° compared to 33.81°; p = 0.07). Posterior pituitary bright spots were preserved in 75% of cases with normal postoperative endocrine function. CONCLUSIONS The endoscopic endonasal transcavernous approach to the interpeduncular cistern with pituitary transposition and bilateral sacrifice of the IHAs does not cause pituitary dysfunction in a majority of patients. When endocrine deficit occurs, it appears to be more likely to have been caused by surgical manipulation than loss of blood supply. This finding confirms clinically the crucial concept of interarterial anastomosis of pituitary vasculature proposed by anatomists.
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