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Neurocirugia (Astur). 2007 Apr;18(2):134-7.

[Intraventricular tension pneumocephalus after transsphenoidal surgery: a case report and literature review].

[Article in Spanish]

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Servicio de Neurocirugía, Hospital General Universitario Gregorio Marañón, Madrid.


Tension pneumocephalus is a rare complication of transsphenoidal approaches. The case of a 37 year old woman with a transsphenoidal resection of a pituitary adenoma who presented self-limited rhinoliquorrhea postoperatively is reported. Three days later the patient developed progressive decreased consciousness, amnesia and headache, showing an intraventricular tension pneumocephalus on CT scan. Urgent treatment with bilateral external ventricular drainage and anterior nasal tamponade was performed with good clinical outcome. Later transsphenoidal sealing of the dural defect was achieved without recurrence. Tension pneumocephalus following transsphenoidal surgery usually occurs after the presentation of a cerebrospinal fluid leak due to an incomplete sealing of the sphenoid sinus. The postoperative insertion of a lumbar drainage seems to be a predisposing condition for this complication. The combined approach of tension pneumocephalus with external ventricular drainage and repair of the sphenoid sinus offers optimal results solving the acute neurological deterioration and avoiding recurrence.

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