Visual deterioration during pregnancy due to skull base tumors compressing the optic apparatus

Erez Nossek, Margaret Ekstein, Gal Barkay, Tal Shahar, Lior Gonen, Eli Rimon, Anat Kesler, Nevo Margalit

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Intracranial tumors may rapidly enlarge during pregnancy. When the tumor abuts the optic apparatus, tumor growth may cause visual deterioration. The decisions regarding the management of these tumors should take into consideration visual function, fetal and maternal safety, and the ability for total resection of the tumor. The objective of the study was to describe our experience and to establish principles for management of intracranial tumors compressing the optic apparatus that present during pregnancy or in the early post partum period. A retrospective case-series review was conducted. Women who presented with visual deterioration either during pregnancy or in the early post partum period due to an intracranial tumor were included. Neurosurgical and obstetrical data were collected from the patients’ hospital files and outpatient clinic records. Between 2005 and 2011, nine pregnant women with visual deterioration were diagnosed and treated. Of them, four underwent a neurosurgical procedure during pregnancy. Of the five patients who underwent surgery for tumor resection after delivery, three required urgent cesarean section either due to acute visual deterioration or obstetrical reasons. There was no maternal or fetal mortality and a good overall neonatal outcome was achieved. Improvement in visual acuity and visual fields was achieved in all patients. Postoperative complications included two cases of CSF leak, which resolved after treatment. Visual deterioration during pregnancy due to tumors that compress the optic apparatus requires treatment by a multi-disciplinary team. Surgery is well tolerated by mother and fetus during early and midpregnancy; thus, in cases where visual deterioration is detected, delay of surgery is not justified.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)473-479
Number of pages7
JournalNeurosurgical Review
Issue number3
StatePublished - 18 Jul 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Meningioma
  • Optic apparatus
  • Pregnancy
  • Visual function

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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