Perioperative Complications in Endoscopic Endonasal versus Transcranial Resections of Adult Craniopharyngiomas

Vaidya Govindarajan, Evan M. Luther, Alexis A. Morell, Joshua D. Burks, Hunter King, Daniel G. Eichberg, Victor M. Lu, Ashish H. Shah, Gurvinder Kaur, Ricardo J. Komotar, Michael E. Ivan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Adult craniopharyngiomas are low-grade tumors of the pituitary infundibulum that can be locally aggressive and frequently present with profound visual deficits and endocrinopathies. Surgical resection remains the preferred initial treatment for these lesions, and recently endoscopic endonasal approaches (EEAs) have become increasingly used. However, minimal data exist comparing these techniques with traditional transcranial (TC) methods. The purpose of this study was to evaluate perioperative differences in EEA and TC approaches for adult craniopharyngiomas over the past several decades. Methods: Craniopharyngioma surgeries in the Nationwide Inpatient Sample from 1998 to 2014 were identified. Complication rates, mortality rates, and annual treatment trends were stratified by procedure. Annual caseload was assessed with linear regression, and multivariate logistic regression models were created to determine predictors of inpatient mortality and perioperative complications. Results: From 1998−2014, a significant increase in EEAs for craniopharyngiomas (+4.36/year, r2 = 0.80, P < 0.0001) was observed. In contrast, no increase in TC surgeries for these lesions was seen. In multivariate analysis, EEAs were more likely to experience postoperative cerebrospinal fluid leak (odds ratio = 2.61, P < 0.0001). However, EEAs were protective against all other perioperative complications including diabetes insipidus, panhypopituitarism, visual impairment, and even mortality (odds ratio = 0.41, P = 0.0007). Conclusions: Over the past several decades, utilization of EEAs to resect adult craniopharyngiomas has increased. EEAs appear to be associated with lower rates of perioperative mortality and complications. However, long-term, prospective studies controlling for tumor size, location, and preoperative symptomatology are needed to determine when one approach should be used preferentially over the other.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e729-e737
JournalWorld neurosurgery
StatePublished - Aug 2021


  • Complications
  • Craniopharyngioma
  • Craniotomy
  • EEA
  • Endonasal
  • Nationwide inpatient sample

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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