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About this Treatment: Surgery for Pituitary Tumors
Approaches to Pituitary Tumor Surgery
Stanford doctors use various surgical approaches for safe and effective operations. The approach and success of surgery depend on the location and size of the tumor.
The 2 main surgical techniques to treat pituitary tumors are:
Endoscopic transnasal transsphenoidal surgery (TSS): Your surgeon accesses the tumor through an incision inside one of the nostrils. This approach leaves no visible scar, speeds recovery, and poses fewer lingering side effects. Your surgeon guides a tiny narrow tube called an endoscope through the incision. The endoscope is equipped with a camera that offers a magnified view of the tumor and structures around it. The camera relays images to a large television screen in the operating room to guide your surgeon’s progress. Special, miniaturized surgical instruments are placed on the endoscope to help separate the tumor from surrounding tissues and remove it.
Transcranial surgery: If the tumor’s location and size make surgery more complicated, your doctor may recommend transcranial surgery. During this operation, surgeons make an incision in the scalp, then remove a section of bone to reach the tumor. They take out the tumor, or as much as possible, while carefully minimizing the impact on healthy surrounding tissue. They finish by replacing the section of bone and closing the incision.