BACKGROUND: During tumor removal in the endoscopic endonasal approach to pituitary adenomas with a significant suprasellar extension, the early descent of diaphragma sellae obscuring the visualization of the surgical field is a surgical challenge.
OBJECTIVE: To describe a simple diaphragma retraction technique to eliminate this problem.
METHODS: A transparent flexible material (a strip of polypropylene) was used as a self-retaining retractor to elevate the redundant diaphragma and to maintain the diaphragma elevation. This technique was performed in 3 patients who had pituitary adenoma with suprasellar extension. The degree of tumor removal was determined by a combination of surgeon's intraoperative impression and the postoperative magnetic resonance imaging obtained 3 months later.
RESULTS: The technique was performed very easily and no complication was observed owing to this technique and self-retaining retractor. Total tumor removal was achieved in 2 patients with this technique and subtotal removal in 1 patient.
CONCLUSION: This technique was effective and practicable to elevate the diaphragma sellae during the tumor removal phase of transsphenoidal surgery. This simple self-retaining retractor may support the neurosurgeon's skill by providing control of the entire surgical field and adequate working space. It may also eliminate the risks of blind curettage during surgery.