The Journal of Bucharest College of Physicians and the Romanian Academy of Medical Sciences

Craniopharyngioma in Adults – Neurosurgical Outcome


Craniopharyngiomas are rare tumors developed in the area of the sella turcica and especially the suprasellar region. Despite their benign histological nature they are locally aggressive and surgical intervention is a major challenge due to the risk of damaging critical neural and vascular neighbouring structures. Objective: To study the postsurgical evolution of craniopharyngioma in adults after total or partial surgical resection. Material and methods: We performed a retrospective review of adult craniopharyngioma patients evaluated and followed up in the Pituitary Diseases Department of the National Institute of Endocrinology in Bucharest between 1998 and 2018. Results: A total of 60 patients (39.62±15.6 years-old) diagnosed with craniopharyngioma were included. All underwent initial surgery (68.3 % transcranial, 31.7% transsphenoidal approach). Gross total resection (GTR) was achieved in 21 cases (35%), in all the others partial resection was obtained (non-GTR). Immediate non-threatening postsurgical complications were anosmia (in 2 cases), cerebrospinal fluid-CSF leak (3 cases), subdural hematoma (2 cases). After surgery 13 cases (21.66%) had cognitive impairment (2 with GTR, 11 with non-GTR), 14 (23.3%) had hypothalamic syndrome (diurnal sleepiness, appetite and memory dysfunction- present in 1 case with GTR, 13 with non-GTR), 27 cases (45%) reported lethargy (7 GTR, 20 non-GTR), 24 (40%) complained of headaches (6 GTR, 18 nonGTR). All these complications were signifi cantly more frequent in cases with incomplete tumor resection compared to those with GTR: p= 0.000; 0.000; 0.036 and 0.009, respectively. Conclusions: Craniopharyngioma as well as its treatment are associated with very significant morbidity. Aggressive surgical resection with the aim of GTR is possible in a signifi cant percentage of cases and if it is carefully considered in view of the surgically perceived risk
of neurologic injury it is associated with lower postsurgical morbidity.