ENDOSCOPIC PITUITARY SURGERY

The pituitary gland is a small gland located at the base of the brain just behind the bridge of the nose.  Growth of this gland in the form of a tumour generally presents with visual disturbance or hormone imbalance syndromes such as Cushing’s disease or acromegaly.  As this area is deep within the brain but very close to the nasal passages, the use of an endoscope will allow access to this area for removal of a tumour through the nose.  This type of keyhole surgery is known as transsphenoidal endoscopic surgery.

WHEN IS THIS TYPE OF NEUROSURGERY NECESSARY?

Growth of a tumour from the pituitary gland can cause blindness or major hormonal imbalance.  These factors as well as the tumours size will be used to deduce if surgery for your pituitary tumour is necessary.

HOW IS ENDOSCOPIC PITUITARY SURGERY DONE?

In Gauteng, South Africa, Dr Christos Profyris performs pituitary tumour surgery through an endoscopic transsphenoidal approach.  Imaging and mapping technologies are used to guide surgery. An endoscope, which is a thin tube-like tool fitted with a light source and camera, is inserted into the nostril to the sphenoid sinus at the back of the nasal cavity. Here, an incision is made to open the sphenoid sinus and access the bone surrounding the pituitary gland.  The bone around the pituitary is then removed and the tumour is resected.  Depending on the consistency of the tumour and its relation to vital structures the entire tumour may be removed and a cure obtained.

BENEFITS OF THE ENDOSCOPIC TRANSNASAL APPROACH TO SURGERY INCLUDE:

  • Potential Improvement of vision
  • Improved visualisation of the pituitary gland and tumour
  • Minimal trauma/exposure of the healthy tissues
  • More rapid post-surgical recovery
  • Shorter hospital stays
  • No visible scars
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