Oct 2020 Medical Corner


PNA Medical Corner: Assessing Confocal Laser Endomicroscopy for Pituitary Surgery

william whiteandrew littleThis month the PNA Medical Corner spotlights an article in the Journal of Clinical Medicine, co-authored by PNA members Dr. William White and Andrew Little. Researchers looked at the feasibility of using confocal laser endomicroscopy (CLE) to assess tiny structures in the pituitary during transsphenoidal surgery. The study used cadavers and biopsied pituitary slices. The authors conclude that CLE, using fluorescein to provide contrast, merits future studies.

Confocal Laser Endomicroscopy Assessment of Pituitary Tumor Microstructure: A Feasibility Study

Evgenii Belykh 1, Brandon Ngo 1, Dara S Farhadi 1, Xiaochun Zhao 1, Michael A Mooney 1, William L White 1, Jessica K Daniels 2, Andrew S Little 1, Jennifer M Eschbacher 2, Mark C Preul 1 Affiliations expand

• PMID: 33003336 DOI: 10.3390/jcm9103146


This is the first study to assess confocal laser endomicroscopy (CLE) use within the transsphenoidal approach and show the feasibility of obtaining digital diagnostic biopsies of pituitary tumor tissue after intravenous fluorescein injection. We confirmed that the CLE probe reaches the tuberculum sellae through the transnasal transsphenoidal corridor in cadaveric heads. Next, we confirmed that CLE provides images with identifiable histological features of pituitary adenoma. Biopsies from nine patients who underwent pituitary adenoma surgery were imaged ex vivo at various times after fluorescein injection and were assessed by a blinded board-certified neuropathologist. With frozen sections used as the standard, pituitary adenoma was diagnosed as "definitively" for 13 and as "favoring" in 3 of 16 specimens. CLE digital biopsies were diagnostic for pituitary adenoma in 10 of 16 specimens. The reasons for nondiagnostic CLE images were biopsy acquisition <1 min or >10 min after fluorescein injection (n = 5) and blood artifacts (n = 1). In conclusion, fluorescein provided sufficient contrast for CLE at a dose of 2 mg/kg, optimally 1-10 min after injection. These results provide a basis for further in vivo studies using CLE in transsphenoidal surgery.


confocal endomicroscopy; fluorescein sodium; frozen section; histology; pituitary; tumor.