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Pituitary Gland Tumor Minimally Invasive Surgery

You’re tired, your joints ache and you’ve been gaining weight even though you’ve been eating healthfully and exercising regularly. What’s wrong? It could be a pituitary gland tumor.

The pituitary gland is located at the base of the brain, three to four inches behind the top of a person’s nostril. This
gland is responsible for stimulating the production of a variety of hormones that help the body function correctly.

When a tumor forms, it causes the body to function incorrectly, resulting in health problems related to metabolism,
reproduction and vision.

Normally, pituitary gland tumors are diagnosed by a computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan and can be removed surgically, but traditional open surgery has a variety of complications that include longer recovery periods. Now, thanks to zero-incision surgery, patients can undergo the procedure with minor complications.

“Endoscopic techniques for transsphenoidal hypophysectomy provide a minimally invasive alternative to the open
surgery technique,” says Sabatino Bianco, M.D., neurosurgeon on the medical staff at Texas Health Arlington Memorial Hospital. “Patients with pituitary tumors are excellent candidates for this new approach.”

In traditional surgery, bones from the nose are removed to access the pituitary gland and remove the tumors.

Due to the invasive nature of this type of surgery, patients sometimes experience complications such as bleeding and scarring. Other possible side effects of open surgery include change in nose shape and difficulties breathing through the nose.

The zero-incision surgery involves using an endoscope with a camera and a light, which is inserted through an opening in the sinus cavity to remove the tumor. The camera allows the surgeon to view the affected area and remove the tumor.

This procedure takes one to two hours, compared to the three to four hours for the traditional open procedure.

“This advanced procedure is intended to promote faster recovery with less postoperative pain and discomfort so people can get back to their daily lives,” says Dr. Bianco. “The endoscopic technique is one of the main minimally invasive brain and spine techniques available at Texas Health Arlington Memorial.”

Texas Health Arlington Memorial has made a major commitment in the neuroscience fields. The hospital provides
advanced neurosurgical technologies that allow for minimally invasive outpatient spine surgery intended to support safer and more effective treatment of patients with brain pathologies and complex spine diseases.

Neurosurgical procedures are also available at other Texas Health hospitals.

While pituitary gland tumors are usually non-cancerous, they can impact your health in other ways, causing:

• aching joints

• depression

• disrupted menstrual cycle

• fatigue

• growth problems

• headache

• impaired sense of smell

• nausea

• unexplained weight gain or loss

• vision problems, such as blurred or double vision and drooping eyelids

If you or a loved one experience three or more of these symptoms, consult your physician.

To learn more about minimally invasive surgical options, visit TexasHealth.org/CuttingEdge or call 1-877-THR-WELL (1-877-847-9355).

(Spring 2010)

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