Defining the timing and role of acute postoperative imaging in pituitary adenoma surgery: clinical study

Katherine E. Kunigelis, Gregory Arnone, Gregoire Chatain, Jessa Hoffman, Oscar Chatain, Ian Coulter, Alexis Sunshine, Kevin O. Lillehei, A. Samy Youssef

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The ideal timing of postoperative imaging after pituitary adenoma surgery has yet to be determined. We reviewed our pituitary database to determine whether timing of routine postoperative imaging has significantly changed patients’ clinical course or outcomes. Methods: Retrospective chart review of patients undergoing resection of pituitary adenoma at our university center between 2012 and 2017 was performed. Timing and indication for postoperative imaging, findings of immediate and delayed postoperative imaging, as well as re-operations and radiosurgery details were recorded. Visual functions such as acuity and visual fields were used as clinical outcome indicators. Statistical analysis was run using Microsoft Excel. Results: Five hundred and nineteen patients were identified; 443 had imaging data in our system and were included in the study. Early (< 90 days) MRIs were obtained in 71 patients and late (≥ 90 days) in 372 patients. We found statistical differences in our demographic groups including larger tumors in the early MRI group (early mean 12.33 cm3, late mean 4.64 cm3, p < 0.001) and higher Knosp grade (p = 0.0006). We found a significant difference in rates of return to the OR (16.9% in the early group and 4.84% in the late group; p < 0.001). There was a significant difference in the rate of residual identified on first postoperative MRI: 52.11% in the early group and 29.57% in the late group (p < 0.001). There was no difference in visual outcomes between the patient cohorts. Conclusion: After surgical treatment of pituitary adenoma, MRI obtained before 3 months is associated with higher rates of return to OR but no difference in long-term clinical outcomes. Due to cost efficiency, we argue for a delayed first postoperative MRI. The timing of MRI should also be governed by other factors such as large pituitary macroadenomas or postoperative complications. We recommend a consistent institutional protocol for determining the most cost-effective follow-up of postoperative pituitary patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2353-2360
Number of pages8
JournalActa Neurochirurgica
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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