Perioperative lumbar drain utilization in transsphenoidal pituitary resection

Shatha Alharbi, Griffith Harsh, Abdulrazag Ajlan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Objectives: To evaluate lumbar drain (LD) efficacy in transnasal resection of pituitary macroadenomas in preventing postoperative cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leak, technique safety, and effect on length of hospital stay. Methods: We conducted a retrospective data review of pituitary tumor patients in our institution who underwent surgery between December 2006 and January 2013. All patients were operated on for complete surgical resection of pituitary macroadenoma tumors. Patients were divided into 2 groups: group 1 received a preoperative drain, while LD was not preoperatively inserted in group 2. In cases of tumors with suprasellar extension with anticipation of high-flow leak, LD was inserted after the patient was intubated and in a lateral position. Lumbar drain was used for 48 hours, and the drain was removed if no leak was observed postoperatively. In documented postoperative CSF leak patients with no preoperative drain, the leak was treated by LD trial prior to surgical reconstruction. Cases in which leak occurred 6 months postoperatively were excluded. Results: Our study population consisted of 186 patients, 99 women (53%) and 87 men (47%) with a mean age of 50.3±16.1 years. Complications occurred in 7 patients (13.7%) in group 1 versus 21 (15.5%) in group 2 (p=0.72) Postoperative CSF leak was observed in 1 patient (1.9%) in group 1 and 7 (5%) in group 2 (Fisher exact test=0.3) Length of hospital stay was a mean of 4.7±1.9 days in group 1 and a mean of 2.7±2.4 days in group 2 (p<001) The most common reason to extend hospital stay was management of diabetes insipidus. Conclusion: Although LD insertion is generally considered safe with a low risk of complications, it increases the length of hospitalization. Minor complications include headaches and patient discomfort.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)46-51
Number of pages6
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2018
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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