Contralateral subfrontal approach for tuberculum sellae meningioma

J Neurosurg 138:598–609, 2023

Tuberculum sellae meningiomas (TSMs) present a burdensome surgical challenge because of their adjacency to vital neurovascular structures. The contralateral subfrontal approach provides an outstanding corridor for removing a TSM with an excellent visual outcome and limited complications. The authors present their long-term surgical experience in treating TSMs via the contralateral subfrontal approach and discuss patient selection, surgical techniques, and clinical outcomes.

METHODS Between 2005 and 2021, the authors used the contralateral subfrontal approach in 74 consecutive patients presenting with TSMs. The surgical decision-making process and surgical techniques are described, and the clinical outcomes were retrospectively analyzed.

RESULTS The mean patient age was 54.4 years, with a female predominance (n = 61, 82%). Preoperatively, 61 patients (82%) had vision symptoms and 73 (99%) had optic canal invasion by tumor. Gross-total resection was achieved in almost all patients (n = 70, 95%). The visual function improvement and stabilization rate was 91% (67/74). Eight patients (11%) showed a worsening of visual function on the less-compromised (approach-side) optic nerve. There was no occurrence of cerebrospinal fluid leakage. Four patients (5%) experienced recurrences after the initial operation (mean follow-up duration 63 months). There were no deaths in this study.

CONCLUSIONS The contralateral subfrontal approach provides a high chance of complete tumor removal and visual improvement with limited complications and recurrences, especially when the tumor is in a unilateral or midline location causing unilateral visual symptoms or bilateral asymmetrical visual symptoms, regardless of tumor size or encasement of major vessels. With the appropriate patient selection, surgical technique, and familiarity with surrounding neurovascular structures, this approach is reliable for TSM surgery.

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