Good Visual Outcomes After Pituitary Tumor Surgery Are Associated With Increased Visual Cortex Functional Connectivity

PITNET Study Group

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: Patients presenting with visual impairment secondary to pituitary macroadenomas often experience variable recovery after surgery. Several factors may impact visual outcomes including the extent of neuroaxonal damage in the afferent visual pathway and cortical plasticity. Optical coherence tomography (OCT) measures of retinal structure and resting-state functional MRI (rsfMRI) can be used to evaluate the impact of neuroaxonal injury and cortical adaptive processes, respectively. The purpose of this study was to determine whether rsfMRI patterns of functional connectivity (FC) distinguish patients with good vs poor visual outcomes after surgical decompression of pituitary adenomas. METHODS: In this retrospective cohort study, we compared FC patterns between patients who manifested good (GO) vs poor (PO) visual outcomes after pituitary tumor surgery. Patients (n = 21) underwent postoperative rsfMRI a minimum of 1 year after tumor surgery. Seed-based connectivity of the visual cortex (primary [V1], prestriate [V2], and extrastriate [V5]) was compared between GO and PO patients and between patients and healthy controls (HCs) (n = 19). Demographics, visual function, and OCT data were compared preoperatively and postoperatively between patient groups. The threshold for GO was visual field mean deviation equal or less than -5.00 dB and/or visual acuity equal to or better than 20/40. RESULTS: Increased postoperative FC of the visual system was noted for GO relative to PO patients. Specifically, good visual outcomes were associated with increased connectivity of right V5 to the bilateral frontal cortices. Compared with HCs, GO patients showed increased connectivity of V1 and left V2 to sensorimotor cortex, increased connectivity of right and left V2 to medial prefrontal cortex, and increased connectivity of right V5 the right temporal and frontal cortices. CONCLUSIONS: Increased visual cortex connectivity is associated with good visual outcomes in patients with pituitary tumor, at late phase of recovery. Our findings suggest that rsfMRI does distinguish GO and PO patients after pituitary tumor surgery. This imaging modality may have a future role in characterizing the impact of cortical adaptation on visual recovery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)504-511
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Clinical Neuro-Ophthalmology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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