Endoscopic transsphenoidal surgery for cushing disease: Techniques, outcomes, and predictors of remission

Robert M. Starke, Davis L. Reames, Ching Jen Chen, Edward R. Laws, John A. Jane

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

73 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: The efficacy of endoscopic transsphenoidal surgery (ETS) for Cushing disease has not been clearly established. OBJECTIVE: To assess efficacy of a pure endoscopic approach for treatment of Cushing disease and determine predictors of remission. METHODS: A prospectively acquired database of 61 patients undergoing ETS was reviewed. Remission was defined as postoperative morning serum cortisol of <5 μ/dL or normal or decreased 24-hour urine-free cortisol level in follow-up. RESULTS: Overall, hypercortisolemia resolved in 58 of 61 patients (95%) by discharge. Tumor size did not predict resolution of hypercortisolemia at discharge (microadenomas [97%], magnetic resonance imaging-negative Cushing [100%], macroadenomas [87%]). At 2- to 3-month evaluations, 45 of 49 patients (91.8%) were in remission. Fifty patients were followed for at least 12 months (mean, 28 months; range, 12-72). Forty-two (84%) achieved remission from a single ETS. In these patients, there was no significant difference in remission rates between microadenomas (93%), magnetic resonance imaging-negative (70%), and macroadenomas (77%). Patients with history of previous surgery (n = 14, 23%) were 9 times less likely to achieve follow-up remission (P = .021). In-house cortisol level of <5.7 μg/dL provided the best prediction of follow-up remission (sensitivity 88.6%, specificity 83.3%). Postoperative diabetes insipidus occurred transiently in 7 patients (9%) and permanently in 3 (5%). One patient experienced postoperative cerebrospinal fluid leak that resolved with further surgery. CONCLUSION: ETS for Cushing disease provides high rates of remission with low rates of complications regardless of size. Although patients with a history of previous surgery are less likely to achieve remission, the majority can still achieve remission following treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)240-247
Number of pages8
JournalClinical neurosurgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Cushing
  • Cushing disease
  • Disease
  • Endoscopic
  • Remission
  • Secretory tumors
  • Surgery
  • Transsphenoidal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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