The application of transsphenoidal microsurgery in the management of pituitary microadenoma, long regarded as effective surgical treatment, has had a relatively low mortality and morbidity rate. However early failure and late recurrence has been reported in no small numbers. It has been proposed that stereotactic radiosurgery is an alternative treatment modality. Recent advances in neuroimaging Permits precise targeting in radiosurgery of microadenomas. Additionally, a prompt hormonal reduction after the treatment is important for the patients with hormonally active microadenomas. The authors performed Gamma Knife radiosurgery in 27 patients with pituitary adenomas and observed the hormonal changes after radiosurgery in 19 patients with functioning microadenomas (5 with Cushing's disease, 7 with acromegaly, and 7 with prolactinoma). The maximum dose administered ranged from 25 to 75 Gy. The margin of the tumor was encompassed within the 50 to 90% isodose volume. The endocrinological status was assessed pre- and post-operatively. We measured the serum growth hormone and prolactin level, as well as the 24-hour urinary free-cortisol level. Normalization of the hormonal level was achieved in 6 cases, the majority of them within 10 months. The other 6 cases showed marked reduction of hormonal levels (less than 50% of preoperative levels) with a strong possibility of hormonal remission at further follow-up. The remaining 6 were failures. The cure for one case is still pending. It took approximately 1-3 months after the radiosurgery before the reduction of hormonal secretion began to show up with some improvement of symptoms. When the GKS was successful, hormonal secretion seemed to return to normal within 10 months. Although further follow-up is necessary to evaluate the long-term tumor control rate and hormonal effect, these initial results indicate a potential therapeutic role of radiosurgery in controlling hormone hypersecretion in pituitary microadenomas. Gamma knife radiosurgery is very promising in managing pituitary microadenoma with complementary of the transsphenoidal surgery.
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