Effect of Preserving the Pituitary Stalk During Resection of Craniopharyngioma in Children on the Diabetes Insipidus and Relapse Rates and Long-Term Outcomes

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Abstract

Objective:

The objective of this study was to investigate the effect of preserving an infiltrated pituitary stalk during the resection of craniopharyngioma of pituitary stalk origin on postoperative outcomes and thus provide a theoretical basis for microsurgical treatment and prognosis.

Methods:

We screened the clinical data of all 103 pediatric patients with craniopharyngioma undergoing surgical treatment at our department between January 2006 and January 2013 and conducted a retrospective analysis of 82 patients with craniopharyngioma originating in the pituitary stalk. The patients were followed up from 12 months to 8 years. We analyzed the effect of preserving the pituitary stalk on the early and persistent diabetes insipidus rates, postoperative relapse rate, and mortality.

Results:

In the total resection group (n = 67), the early and persistent diabetes insipidus rates were significantly lower in the 46 patients (68.7%) with a pituitary stalk than in those whose pituitary stalk was removed (P < 0.05); no significant difference was observed in the relapse rate between the 2 subgroups (P > 0.05). In the subtotal resection group (n = 15), a significant difference was observed in the early and persistent diabetes insipidus rates (P < 0.05), but no significant difference was observed in the relapse rate between the patients with a pituitary stalk and those whose pituitary stalk was removed (P > 0.05).

Conclusions:

For children with craniopharyngioma of pituitary stalk origin, preserving the pituitary stalk has a significant effect on the early and persistent diabetes insipidus rates. When intraoperative exploration showed excessive adhesion between the tumor and pituitary stalk, we opted to preserve the pituitary stalk, which significantly reduced the early and persistent postoperative diabetes insipidus rates, without significantly increasing the relapse or mortality rate.

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