Tuberculum sellae meningiomas: Grading scale to assess surgical outcomes using the transcranial versus transsphenoidal approach

Stephen T. Magill, Ramin A. Morshed, Calixto Hope G. Lucas, Manish K. Aghi, Philip V. Theodosopoulos, Mitchel S. Berger, Oreste de Divitiis, Domenico Solari, Paolo Cappabianca, Luigi M. Cavallo, Michael W. McDermott*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

88 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE Tuberculum sellae meningiomas (TSMs) are surgically challenging tumors that can severely impair vision. Debate exists regarding whether the transcranial (TC) or endoscopic transsphenoidal (TS) approach is best for resecting these tumors, and there are few large series comparing these approaches. METHODS A retrospective chart review was performed at 2 academic centers comparing TC and TS approaches with respect to vision, extent of resection, recurrence, and complications. The authors report surgical outcomes and propose a simple preoperative tumor grading scale that scores tumor size (1-2), optic canal invasion (0-2), and arterial encasement (0-2). The authors performed univariate, multivariate, and recursive partitioning analysis (RPA) to evaluate outcomes. RESULTS The TSMs were resected in 139 patients. The median follow-up was 29 months. Ninety-five (68%) cases were resected via a TC and 44 (32%) via a TS approach. Tumors treated via a TC approach had a higher tumor (p = 0.0007), artery (p < 0.0001), and total score (p = 0.0012) on the grading scale. Preoperative visual deficits were present in 87% of patients. Vision improved in 47%, stayed the same in 35%, declined in 10%, and was not recorded in 8%. The extent of resection was 65% gross-total resection, 23% near-total resection (95%-99% resection), and 12% subtotal resection (< 95%). A lower tumor score was significantly associated with better or stable vision postoperatively (p = 0.0052). The RPA confirmed low tumor score as the key predictor of postoperative visual improvement or stability. Multivariate analysis and RPA demonstrate that lower canal score (p < 0.0001) and TC approach (p = 0.0019) are associated with gross-total resection. Complications occurred in 20 (14%) patients, including CSF leak (5%) and infection (4%). There was no difference in overall complication rates between TC and TS approaches; however, the TS approach had more CSF leaks (OR 5.96, 95% CI 1.10-32.04). The observed recurrence rate was 10%, and there was no difference between the TC and TS approaches. CONCLUSIONS Tuberculum sellae meningiomas can be resected using either a TC or TS approach, with low morbidity and good visual outcomes in appropriately selected patients. The simple proposed grading scale provides a standard preoperative method to evaluate TSMs and can serve as a starting point for selection of the surgical approach. Higher scores were associated with worsened visual outcomes and subtotal resection, regardless of approach. The authors plan a multicenter review of this grading scale to further evaluate its utility.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberE9
JournalNeurosurgical focus
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Complications
  • Endoscopic
  • Expanded endonasal approach
  • Grading scale
  • Meningioma
  • Outcomes
  • Sella
  • Sellae
  • Transsphenoidal
  • Tuberculum

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Surgery


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