Transsphenoidal surgery for pituitary adenoma in elderly patients

J. M. Sheehan, G. L. Douds, K. Hill, E. Farace

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Background. As the population continues to age, the number of elderly patients with symptomatic pituitary tumours will continue to increase. Little information exists as to the safety of pituitary surgery in this patient population. The current study was undertaken to evaluate the presentation and perioperative risk associated with transsphenoidal surgery in patients over the age of 70. Methods. A retrospective chart review was undertaken for patients over the age of 70 undergoing transsphenoidal surgery at the Penn State Hershey Medical Center between 1995 and 2005. Findings. Sixty-four patients over the age of 70 were identified with an average age of 73.4 years (range 70-84). The average follow-up period was 44 months (range 14-104). Symptoms of mass effect were the presenting complaint in 72% of patients while 9% had documentation of growth on imaging studies. Twelve percent presented with a history consistent with apoplexy. Three patients (5%) presented with acromegaly. Post-operative hospital stay averaged 2.6 days (range 2-7). Eight patients had new hormonal deficits post-operatively (1 ACTH, 3 TSH, 2 ACTH/TSH, 2 vasopressin). There were no cardiopulmonary complications and no deaths within 90 days of surgery. Conclusions. Transsphenoidal surgery can be performed in patients over the age of 70 without undo significant risks. Surgical removal of pituitary adenomas should be considered the mainstay of treatment in elderly patients in whom treatment is necessary. Patients who are medically suitable candidates should be offered surgical resection as would their younger counterparts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)571-574
Number of pages4
JournalActa Neurochirurgica
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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