Intraoperative low field MRI (iMRI, 0.15 T) during transsphenoidal surgery on pituitary adenomas (PAs) may significantly improve tumor removal. However, extensive surgery can lead to pituitary hormone deficiency. Furthermore, introduction of iMRI will prolong duration of surgery, which may elevate risk of postoperative infections.
Overall, 180 transsphenoidal surgeries for PAs from 2007 to 2015 were included. IMRI was available from 2011 to 2015, during this period 67/78 (86%) surgeries were with iMRI (iMRI, n = 67). A total of 113 surgeries were performed without iMRI (controls). All surgical procedures were performed by microscopic technique. Tumor size, hormonal status and vision were assessed before surgery and 3–5 months postoperatively.
Gross total resection (GTR), mean tumor remnant volume and ∆-volumes were comparable between iMRI and controls: 15% (10/66) vs 23% (26/109) (P = 0.17), 2.97 cm3 (0.9–5) vs 2.1 cm3 (1.6–2.6) (P = 0.3) and 4.5 cm3 (3.6–5.5) vs 5.1 cm3 (4.2–6) (P = 0.4), respectively. Duration of surgery was significantly longer during iMRI vs controls: 126 min (117–135) vs 98 min (92–103) (P < 0.001). New pituitary–adrenal deficiency in iMRI vs controls was seen in 35% (17/48) and 35% (23/66) of surgeries, respectively (P = 0.95). New thyroid deficiency was found in 33% (13/29) and 41% (28/69) and visual field deficiencies improved in 44% (19/43) and 38% (23/60) in iMRI vs controls, respectively (P > 0.1).
Tumor remnant after pituitary surgery was not significantly reduced using intraoperative low field MRI. Duration of surgery was increased in iMRI, but was not associated with increased infection rate. Pituitary hormonal function and vision were comparable between iMRI and controls.