In these situations, the expertise of the surgeon is critical, because the goal is to preserve function while removing as much of the tumor as possible. In some patients the doctor may recommend only part of the tumor be removed, to avoid injury.
The main risk of surgery is loss of pituitary hormonal production. The risk varies according to the size and location of the tumor. Fortunately, current hormone replacement therapies, under the supervision of expert pituitary neuro-endocrinologists such as ours at Stanford, are highly effective and allow patients to have a healthy life.
The second most common risk of surgery is leak of cerebro-spinal fluid (CSF) leak. In our experience, fewer than 5% of patients require a follow-up operation to repair the leak. Advanced techniques done in conjunction with our ENT-Rhinology team are highly effective to prevent or treat CSF leaks and to minimize injury to the structures near the sinuses.