Laparoscopic anterior lumbar interbody fusion precipitating pituitary apoplexy

J. K. Liu, C. Nwagwu, H. J. Pikus, W. T. Couldwell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Objective. Pituitary apoplexy may be the first presentation of a previously undiagnosed pituitary adenoma. Although many mechanisms of pituitary apoplexy have been proposed in the literature, the exact pathogenesis remains unclear. Many predisposing events have been implicated in the pathogenesis, however, the role of laparoscopy precipitating pituitary apoplexy has not been previously described. The authors present a case of pituitary apoplexy in a previously undiagnosed pituitary adenoma, which presented in the immediate post-operative period after a laparoscopic anterior lumbar interbody fusion. Clinical Presentation. A 45-year-old man presented with a sudden onset of headache, photophobia, diplopia, visual field deficits, and decreased visual acuity in the immediate post-operative period after an uneventful laparoscopic anterior lumbar interbody fusion. Results of computed tomography of the brain revealed a hyperdense suprasellar mass without any signs of subarachnoid blood. The patient underwent magnetic resonance imaging, which revealed a hemorrhagic pituitary tumor with lateral and suprasellar extension, with compression of the cavernous sinus and optic chiasm, respectively. An urgent transsphenoidal decompression of the hemorrhagic pituitary adenoma was performed. Post-operatively, the patient demonstrated marked neurological improvement with recovery of visual acuity and extraocular movements. Conclusion. To the authors' knowledge, this is the first case reported in the literature of a laparoscopic procedure precipitating pituitary apoplexy. Recognition of this rare complication of laparoscopic surgery, and the importance of rapid diagnosis and urgent surgical treatment are emphasized.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)303-307
Number of pages5
JournalActa Neurochirurgica
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


  • CO insufflation
  • Laparoscopy
  • Pituitary apoplexy
  • Pneumoperitoneum
  • Spinal fusion


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