J Neurol Surg B Skull Base
DOI: 10.1055/s-0040-1701223
Original Article
Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York

Relationship between Recurrence Rates of Rathke's Cleft Cysts and Surgical Approaches to Sellar Reconstruction

Rebecca Limb
1  Department of Neurosurgery, Royal Melbourne Hospital, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria, Australia
James King
1  Department of Neurosurgery, Royal Melbourne Hospital, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria, Australia
› Author Affiliations
Further Information

Publication History

20 September 2019

02 December 2019

Publication Date:
24 January 2020 (online)


Study Objective The main purpose of this article is to address the question of whether reconstructing the sellar floor following Rathke's cleft cyst excision results in increased rates of recurrence.

Methods and Design A retrospective case series was compiled from medical records and radiological investigations at a single institution over a time period spanning 25 years. Episodes of cyst recurrence were determined from magnetic resonance imaging scans and outpatient encounters. Details regarding surgical procedure and techniques were obtained from operation notes. Perioperative morbidity was also recorded.

Results Twenty-three adult patients were treated surgically for a Rathke's cleft cyst at the study institution between 1992 and 2017. The overall cyst recurrence rate was 48%, with 39% of all patients requiring redo surgery within the timeframe of the study. The mean time to redo surgery for recurrence was 4 years. Cyst recurrence rates were 57% postmicroscopic procedures, and 26% postendoscopic procedures (p = 0.148). In the nonreconstructed group, the recurrence rate was 17%, and in the reconstructed group the recurrence rate was 41% (p = 0.3792). Complications arising after nonreconstructive procedures were delayed cerebrospinal fluid rhinorrhea, pneumocephaly, and multiple episodes of meningitis. All these patients required return to theater for secondary reconstruction of the pituitary fossa floor.

Conclusion The results of this small study suggest that reconstruction of the sellar floor, and microscopic rather than endoscopic techniques, may be associated with a higher rate of Rathke's cleft cyst recurrence. However, these trends did not reach statistical significance. Patients undergoing nonreconstructive procedures may be more prone to certain postoperative complications.


The authors have no conflict of interest to declare.