What is a Transsphenoidal Pituitary Tumor Removal?
Who Needs a Transsphenoidal Pituitary Tumor Removal?
Almost all pituitary tumors are benign (noncancerous) growths known as adenomas. Unlike malignant (cancerous) tumors, pituitary adenomas do not spread to other parts of the body. However, they can still cause a variety of health problems if left untreated.
Pituitary tumors that secrete hormones are known as ‘functioning’ tumors. An excessive amount of certain hormones leads to conditions like acromegaly and Cushing’s disease.
Tumors that do not secrete hormones are called “nonfunctioning” tumors. These tumors may become larger and press on adjacent brain structures. This can cause symptoms including vision loss and headaches.
The neurosurgeon removes the tumor via the nasal passages and the sphenoid sinus. Then they can gain access to the pituitary gland from beneath the brain, to avoid important brain structures.
First, the neurosurgeon makes a small incision in the back wall of the nasal passages. This allows them to enter the sphenoid sinus. Next, he opens up the sella turcica, the bony cavity containing the pituitary gland.
Endoscopes, thin tubes with cameras at the tip, allow surgeons to see through a small incision and view the magnified operating site on a TV screen. This allows them to locate and remove the tumor.
Transsphenoidal surgery is also associated with a shorter recovery period, and leaves no scar.