Intrasellar abscess following pituitary surgery.Pituitary. 2015 Oct; 18(5):731-7.P
Intrasellar abscess is an uncommon cause of mass lesions in the sella turcica. Few cases have been reported in the literature, and much remains unknown about the etiology and diagnosis of these lesions. We sought to review a series of patients with intrasellar abscess encountered at our institution and identify defining characteristics of their presentation and management.
We conducted a retrospective chart review for intrasellar infection cases associated with a mass lesion. Included cases had clear demonstration of a mass lesion on imaging with subsequent positive microbiological cultures. Clinical presentation, management, post-operative course, neuroimaging, microbiology, and any perturbations in serum pituitary biochemical markers were examined.
All examined patients had a history of antecedent transsphenoidal pituitary surgery within the preceding 10 months. All presented with headaches, three with progressive visual loss, one with meningismus, one with fever in the setting of an active cerebrospinal fluid leak, and one with fever, meningismus, hypotension, and progressive somnolence. No patient presented with acute endocrine abnormalities. A majority did not initially have any diffusion restriction present on MRI, but in one case we were able to track the evolution of diffusion restriction over sequential MRI scans. Two patients had complete resolution of presenting symptoms, while three experienced improvement or stabilization of their neurologic deficit. There were no mortalities.
Pituitary abscess remains a rare diagnosis that can be difficult to make and to confirm. In our series we found a strong association between culture-positive abscess and recent pituitary surgery. When present, prompt treatment with surgical drainage and aggressive post-operative antibiotics can lead to a favorable outcome.