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The Importance and Timing of Optic Canal Exploration and Decompression During Endoscopic Endonasal Resection of Tuberculum Sella and Planum Sphenoidale Meningiomas

Attia, Moshe MD*; Kandasamy, Jothy FRCS, (Neurosurg)*; Jakimovski, Dejan MD*; Bedrosian, Jeffrey MD; Alimi, Marjan MD*; Lee, Dennis L.Y. FRCS‡,§; Anand, Vijay K. MD; Schwartz, Theodore H. MD*,‡,¶

doi: 10.1227/NEU.0b013e318258e23d
Operative Technique

BACKGROUND: Suprasellar meningiomas often invade the optic canals (OCs). The feasibility of removing these tumors through a minimal-access endonasal route has been demonstrated, but the importance, safety, and timing of OC exploration and decompression are not well described.

OBJECTIVE: To create a simple decision-tree algorithm for OC exploration and decompression in the endonasal endoscopic surgery for planum sphenoidale and tuberculum sella meningiomas.

METHODS: We identified a consecutive series of 8 planum sphenoidale and tuberculum sella meningiomas resected endonasally. “Late” OC exploration and decompression was performed in 4 of 8 patients. The extent of resection, visual outcome, and complications were recorded.

RESULTS: Five patients had OC invasion on magnetic resonance imaging. Endoscopic inspection did not reveal additional OC invasion. The OC was opened bilaterally in 2 patients and unilaterally in 2 patients. Gross total resection was achieved in 6 of 7 patients in whom it was the goal. Vision improved in 3 patients (3 of 3 OCs opened) and was stable in 4 (1 of 4 OCs opened). In 1 patient, the bitemporal hemianopsia improved, but there was unilateral deterioration (no OC invasion) because the tumor was extremely adherent to 1 optic nerve. After an average follow-up of 20.9 months, all patients had an Glasgow Outcome Scale score of 5, and there were no cerebrospinal fluid leaks.

CONCLUSION: Exploration and decompression of the OC are feasible, safe, and important to optimize visual outcome and to minimize recurrence in planum sphenoidale and tuberculum sella meningiomas resected endonasally. It may not be important to open the canal early during surgery because tumor debulking can be performed without manipulating the optic nerves. Early decompression, however, is technically feasible.

ABBREVIATIONS: OC, optic canal

GTR, gross total resection

PS, planum spenoidale

TS, tuberculum sella

Departments of *Neurosurgery

Otolaryngology, and

Neurology and Neuroscience, Weill Cornell Medical College, New York Presbyterian Hospital, New York, New York

§Department of Ear, Nose and Throat, United Christian Hospital, affiliated unit of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

Correspondence: Theodore H. Schwartz, MD, FACS, Professor of Neurosurgery, Departments of Neurological Surgery, Neurology, Neuroscience, and Otolaryngology, Weill Cornell Medical College, New York Presbyterian Hospital, 525 E 68th St, Box 99, New York, NY 10065. E-mail:

Received February 6, 2012

Accepted March 22, 2012

Copyright © by the Congress of Neurological Surgeons