Complications of trans-sphenoidal surgery: The Wellington experience

A. C. Woollons, V. Balakrishnan, M. K. Hunn, Y. R. Rajapaske

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Background: All patients who underwent trans-sphenoidal surgery between January 1984 and December 1998 were reviewed to assess morbidity resulting from this operation. Methods: There were 185 operations on 165 patients. The operative approach was sublabial in 80 cases and transnasal in 105. One surgeon (VB) performed the vast majority of operations. Results: Complications included nasal perforation (7.6%), transient diabetes insipidus (4.9%), permanent diabetes insipidus (3.8%), cerebrospinal fluid fistula (4.3%), donor site haematoma (2.2%) and residual tumour haemorrhage (1.6%) causing ophthalmoplegia (1.1%) and loss of vision (1.1%). Other complications included epistaxis (1.1%), meningitis (0.5%) and sinusitis (0.5%). Injury to the anterior superior alveolar nerve also occurred in the sublabial approach in 6.3% of patients. There were no perioperative deaths. Conclusions: There is a small but significant risk of a number of complications that should be considered for informed consent of this procedure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)405-408
Number of pages4
JournalAustralian and New Zealand Journal of Surgery
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 27 Jun 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Complications
  • Morbidity
  • Pituitary adenoma
  • Trans-sphenoidal surgery

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