Endoscopic transsphenoidal surgery of Rathke's cleft cyst

Zachary S. Mendelson, Qasim Husain, Vivek V. Kanumuri, Jean Anderson Eloy, James K. Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Rathke's cleft cysts (RCC) are benign lesions that originate from remnants of Rathke's pouch. They can compress adjacent structures causing visual loss and endocrine dysfunction. The endoscopic endonasal transsphenoidal approach (EETA) has gained popularity in the surgical management of pituitary and parasellar tumors. However, postoperative cyst recurrence and endocrine dysfunction are still major concerns. A retrospective chart review was performed on 11 patients who underwent a purely EETA. Subtotal resection of the cyst wall with drainage of the intracystic contents followed by obliteration of the cyst with a fat graft was performed in all patients. Two patients underwent repeated surgeries for symptomatic cyst recurrence. One patient ultimately underwent extracapsular removal of the entire cyst wall because of multiple recurrences after simple drainage. There were no incidences of new permanent hypopituitarism, visual deficits, or postoperative cerebrospinal fluid leaks. All patients reported an improvement of initial preoperative symptoms. A non-Aggressive strategy of partial cyst wall removal and simple drainage of cyst contents via EETA is a viable approach for surgical treatment of RCC with a low rate of postoperative endocrine and visual complications. A more aggressive strategy of extracapsular removal of the cyst wall may be indicated in patients with repeated recurrence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)149-154
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Clinical Neuroscience
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Physiology (medical)


  • Benign pituitary lesions
  • Endoscopic skull base surgery
  • Pituitary surgery
  • Rathke's cleft
  • Rathke's cleft cyst


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