by Internet Medical Society

Advantages and Disadvantages of Pituitary Tumor Surgery

Pituitary tumors are abnormal growth of cellular tissue which results in the formation of a tumor in the pituitary gland located at the base of the skull. Surgical removal of pituitary tumors is regarded as the best and most effective form of pituitary tumor treatment method. There are several advantages and disadvantages that are seen in any pituitary tumor surgery.

Pituitary tumor surgery is one of the most popular and effective forms of treatment for pituitary tumors. These are abnormal cellular growth seen developing in the pituitary gland located at the base of the skull.

The pituitary gland is one of the smallest, and most important, glands present in the human body. This gland is often called the ‘key/master-gland’ as it is not only responsible for secreting various important hormones, such as the growth hormones, but is also responsible for regulating the release of other hormones by different glands inside the body.

Various important and vital functions inside the body are regulated with the release of hormones by the pituitary gland and a tumor growing on it can affect this functioning in an adverse way. A pituitary tumor can result in various small and big complications and disorders in the body, hence, prompt diagnosis and effective treatment is always advised in case a person experiences any of the signs and symptoms shown by a pituitary tumor.

Transsphenoidal Pituitary Tumor Surgery

The ‘transsphenoidal pituitary tumor surgery’ is one of the most advanced surgical treatments for pituitary tumors in India. This is a minimally invasive surgical method which differs significantly from the conventional (craniotomy) method of surgery used commonly earlier.

The surgery requires the surgeon to perform the operation using minimally invasive endoscope. The endoscope is a small and thin flexible surgical tube. This tube is attached with a cold light-source and a high-definition video camera at one end.

The transsphenoidal method of pituitary tumor surgery does not require large incisions and is performed using the natural passage created by the nasal cavity (nose).

The surgeon will use this surgical approach to gain a clear access to the pituitary tumor. The endoscope helps the surgeon to view the inside of the skull without the need to make large and open incisions. Once the surgeon has determined the exact location and the size of the tumor they will use similar minimally invasive surgical instruments to remove the tumor from the pituitary gland completely (or as much as safely possible).

Advantages of Pituitary Tumor Surgery

These are the distinct advantages and benefits a minimally invasive endoscopic transsphenoidal pituitary tumor surgery has over the other methods of pituitary tumor treatment:

  • Minimally invasive approach gives less pain and discomfort
  • Shorter hospital stay
  • Faster recovery
  • No need to open the skull, means less risk of neural (brain) damage
  • Faster resuming of everyday activities
  • Better results comparatively

Disadvantages of Pituitary Tumor Surgery

These are some of the disadvantages that a pituitary tumor surgery has over other forms of treatment for pituitary tumors:

  • Common risk is the removal of tumor might damage the structure of the pituitary gland and may require extensive hormone replacement therapy to be corrected
  • Damage to the front of the pituitary gland may result in diabetes insipidus
  • Cerebrospinal fluid leakage inside the brain leads to meningitis and requires another surgical treatment
  • Carotid arteries located on either side of the pituitary gland may get damaged leading to blood-loss and even stroke
  • Damage to the soft tissue in the nasal cavity may result in sinus congestion or nasal deformity

The higher number of advantages of pituitary tumor surgery far outweigh the disadvantages posed by the surgical removal of pituitary tumors hence it is still the best and most efficient treatment for pituitary tumors. 

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