Intraoperative computed tomography registration and electromagnetic neuronavigation for transsphenoidal pituitary surgery: accuracy and time effectiveness

J Neurosurg 114:329–335, 2011. (DOI: 10.3171/2010.5.JNS091821)

The authors assessed the feasibility, anatomical accuracy, and cost effectiveness of frameless electromagnetic (EM) neuronavigation in conjunction with portable intraoperative CT (iCT) registration for transsphenoidal adenomectomy (TSA).

Methods. A prospective database was established for data obtained in 208 consecutive patients who underwent TSA in which the iCT/EM navigation technique was used. Data were compared with those acquired in a retrospective cohort of 65 consecutive patients in whom fluoroscope-assisted TSA had been performed by the same surgeon. All patients in both groups underwent transnasal removal of pituitary adenomas or neuroepithelial cysts, using identical surgical techniques with an operating microscope. In the iCT/EM technique–treated cases, a portable iCT scan was obtained immediately prior to surgery for registration to the EM navigation system, which did not require rigid head fixation. Preexisting (nonnavigation protocol) MR imaging studies were fused with the iCT scans to enable 3D navigation based on MR imaging data. The accuracy of the navigation system was determined in the first 50 iCT/EM cases by visual concordance of the navigation probe location to 5 preselected bony landmarks. For all patients in both cohorts, total operating room time, incision-to-closure time, and relative costs of imaging and surgical procedures were determined from hospital records.

Results. In every case, iCT registration was successful and preoperative MR images were fused to iCT scans without affecting navigation accuracy. There was 100% concordance between probe tip location and predetermined bony loci in the first 50 cases involving the iCT/EM technique. Total operating room time was significantly less in the iCT/EM cases (mean 108.9 ± 24.3 minutes [208 patients]) compared with the fluoroscopy group (mean 121.1 ± 30.7 minutes [65 patients]; p < 0.001). Similarly, incision-to-closure time was significantly less for the iCT/EM cases (mean 61.3 ± 18.2 minutes) than for the fluoroscopy cases (mean 71.75 ± 19.0 minutes; p < 0.001). Relative overall costs for iCT/EM technique and intraoperative C-arm fluoroscopy were comparable; increased costs for navigation equipment were offset by savings in operating room costs for shorter procedures.

Conclusions. The use of iCT/MR imaging–guided neuronavigation for transsphenoidal surgery is a time-effective, cost-efficient, safe, and technically beneficial technique.