Role of craniotomy in the management of pituitary adenomas and sellar/parasellar tumors

Wael Musleh, Adam M. Sonabend, Maciej S. Lesniak*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


The transphenoidal procedure has become the preferred approach in the surgical management of sellar/parasellar tumors. Nevertheless, specific indications remain for the transcranial approach and the objective of this review is to evaluate the available data on outcomes following transcranial or transphenoidal approaches to sellar/parasellar tumors. We asses the indications used for each approach and parameters that favor one over the other. Factor such as tumor size, consistency and configuration are important variables in choosing the transcranial approach. Other important considerations included persistent visual loss after incomplete decompression via the transphenoidal route, ectatic midline carotid arteries, co-existent intracranial aneurysms and sphenoid sinusitis. We review the data on visual and endocronoligal outcomes following the transcranial or transphenoidal approach and provide an argument that, while there appears to be a trend towards greater visual improvement after transcranial surgery for large-to-giant pituitary adenomas, this benefits offset by a greater risk of postoperative pituitary dysfunction. There is no difference in the rate of recurrence between the two procedures in the published literature. Overall, craniotomies will continue to a play a role in the management of patients with sellar/parasellar tumors, although patient selection and careful preoperative evaluation are key elements in choosing the most appropriate approach.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalExpert Review of Anticancer Therapy
Issue number9 SUPPL.
StatePublished - Sep 1 2006


  • Craniotomy
  • Macroadenoma
  • Microadenoma
  • Pituitary tumors
  • Transcranial
  • Transphenoidal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Pharmacology (medical)

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Role of craniotomy in the management of pituitary adenomas and sellar/parasellar tumors'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this