Pituitary Tumor Surgery


Surgery is usually the main treatment for people with pituitary tumors. The most common surgery used to remove pituitary tumors is called trans-sphenoidal hypophysectomy. In this surgery, the surgeon will make a small cut behind the upper lip and create a hole through one of the bones of the nasal passage in order to reach the pituitary gland. The tumor is then removed. In this kind of surgery, no other part of the brain is touched and there is no scar that anyone can see. It is common for microadenomas and soft, larger tumors to be removed this way. Another option may be to insert long, thin instruments through the nose, along with a very small camera on the end of a flexible tube (called an endoscope).

If a tumor is very large, or if it has spread to nerves in the area or other parts of the brain, these surgeries may not be possible. In these cases the surgeon needs to open the brain through the skull, called a craniotomy. This is another type of surgery to remove pituitary tumors. This type is only used for large tumors or tumors that have spread to neighboring tissues.

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