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Outcomes of endoscopic transsphenoidal surgery for Cushing's disease

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journal contribution
posted on 2022-11-14, 17:41 authored by Zarina Brady, Aoife Garrahy, Claire Carthy, Michael O'ReillyMichael O'Reilly, Christopher ThompsonChristopher Thompson, Mark SherlockMark Sherlock, Amar AghaAmar Agha, Mohsen JavadpourMohsen Javadpour

Background: Transsphenoidal surgery (TSS) to resect an adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH)-secreting pituitary adenoma is the first-line treatment for Cushing's disease (CD), with increasing usage of endoscopic transsphenoidal (ETSS) technique. The aim of this study was to assess remission rates and postoperative complications following ETSS for CD.

Methods: A retrospective analysis of a prospective single-surgeon database of consecutive patients with CD who underwent ETSS between January 2012-February 2020. Post-operative remission was defined, according to Endocrine Society Guidelines, as a morning serum cortisol < 138 nmol/L within 7 days of surgery, with improvement in clinical features of hypercortisolism. A strict cut-off of < 50 nmol/L at day 3 post-op was also applied, to allow early identification of remission.

Results: A single surgeon (MJ) performed 43 ETSS in 39 patients. Pre-operative MRI localised an adenoma in 22 (56%) patients; 18 microadenoma and 4 macroadenoma (2 with cavernous sinus invasion). IPSS was carried out in 33 (85%) patients. The remission rates for initial surgery were 87% using standard criteria, 58% using the strict criteria (day 3 cortisol < 50 nmol/L). Three patients had an early repeat ETSS for persistent disease (day 3 cortisol 306-555 nmol/L). When the outcome of repeat early ETSS was included, the remission rate was 92% (36/39) overall. Remission rate was 94% (33/35) when patients with macroadenomas were excluded. There were no cases of CSF leakage, meningitis, vascular injury or visual deterioration. Transient and permanent diabetes insipidus occurred in 33 and 23% following first ETSS, respectively. There was one case of recurrence of CD during the follow-up period of 24 (4-79) months.

Conclusion: Endoscopic transsphenoidal surgery produces satisfactory remission rates for the primary treatment of CD, with higher remission rates for microadenomas. A longer follow-up period is required to assess recurrence rates. Patients should be counselled regarding risk of postoperative diabetes insipidus.



The original article is available https://bmcendocrdisord.biomedcentral.com/

Published Citation

Brady Z. et al. Outcomes of endoscopic transsphenoidal surgery for Cushing's disease. BMC Endocr Disord. 2021;21(1):36.

Publication Date

3 March 2021

PubMed ID



  • Beaumont Hospital
  • Medicine
  • Surgery


BioMed Central


  • Published Version (Version of Record)