Pituitary Tumors–Endoscopic Approach

Pituitary tumor is a malformed cellular growth in the pituitary gland sited in the brain. The pituitary gland releases hormones that act directly on the body tissues and also control the production of hormones from supplementary glands such as thyroid and adrenal glands. Thus pituitary tumors contribute to overproduction of one or more hormones triggering conditions such as hyperthyroidism, gigantism, Cushing’s syndrome and abnormal secretion from the breasts. As they grow these tumors may exert pressure on the optic nerve causing visual disturbances. The diagnosis is accordingly made on the basis of endocrine function tests for cortisol, follicle stimulating hormone, insulin growth factor-1, luteinizing hormone, serum prolactin, testosterone and thyroid hormone levels. The diagnosis is supplementary endorsed by MRI of the head.

The majority of these tumors is non-cancerous and does not extend to other areas of the body. The treatment protocol includes radiation, medications and surgery or a combination. The surgery is necessary when the tumor is compressing the optic nerve and may cause blindness. The majority of these tumors are removed through the nose and sinus using endoscopic transnasal transsphenoidal approach with no external incision. However, in cases where the tumor is too large, it is excised through an incision in the skull (transcranial approach).