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Transcranial Surgery for Pituitary Tumors


  • Transcranial surgery for pituitary tumors is surgery to remove a tumor (lump) on the pituitary gland. Pituitary tumors form when cells grow and divide without control. These cells often make too much tissue and affect structures close to the pituitary gland. The pituitary gland is a small pea-sized gland producing different hormones (chemicals) that keep your body working properly. It lies behind the sphenoid sinus (air spaces), behind the bridge of the nose, and below the brain.
  • With a transcranial approach, your caregiver will do a craniotomy. A craniotomy is surgery done to the brain by opening a part of the skull. A portion of the forehead or side of the head may be opened to expose the brain. You and your caregiver will decide if transcranial surgery for your pituitary tumor is right for you.
  • For this surgery, caregivers will lift some parts of the brain to get to the pituitary gland. Small, special tools or an endoscope may be used to remove the pituitary tumor. An endoscope is a metal tube with a light and tiny video camera on the end. This gives caregivers a clear view of the brain area while watching the images on a monitor. With transcranial surgery, the pituitary tumor may be removed and symptoms relieved.



  • Keep a current list of your medicines: Include the amounts, and when, how, and why you take them. Take the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency. Throw away old medicine lists. Use vitamins, herbs, or food supplements only as directed.
  • Take your medicine as directed: Call your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not working as expected. Tell him about any medicine allergies, and if you want to quit taking or change your medicine.
  • Antibiotics: This medicine is given to fight or prevent an infection caused by bacteria. Always take your antibiotics exactly as ordered by your healthcare provider. Do not stop taking your medicine unless directed by your healthcare provider. Never save antibiotics or take leftover antibiotics that were given to you for another illness.
  • Pain medicine: You may need medicine to take away or decrease pain.
    • Learn how to take your medicine. Ask what medicine and how much you should take. Be sure you know how, when, and how often to take it.
    • Do not wait until the pain is severe before you take your medicine. Tell caregivers if your pain does not decrease.
    • Pain medicine can make you dizzy or sleepy. Prevent falls by calling someone when you get out of bed or if you need help.
  • Your caregiver may change how much steroid or hormone replacement medicine you are taking to treat other conditions.
  • If you are having chemotherapy, take your medicine exactly as you are told.

Ask for information about where and when to go for follow-up visits:

For continuing care, treatments, or home services, ask for more information.

Eating well with cancer and cancer treatment:

Good nutrition can:

  • help you feel better during treatment and decrease treatment side effects
  • decrease your risk of infection
  • help you have more energy and feel stronger
  • help you maintain a healthy weight and heal faster
Eat a variety of healthy foods to get the protein, carbohydrates, and other nutrients that your body needs. You may need to change the foods you eat depending on your treatments and side effects. You also may need to eat more calories than usual. Work with a dietitian to plan the best meals and snacks for you. Ask if you should add vitamins to your diet.
  • Removal of a pituitary tumor may cause changes in your blood sugar. A dietitian may work with you in choosing the right foods to control your blood sugar. You may need to eat certain amounts of these foods at specific times during the day. Ask your caregiver how your favorite foods may fit into your diet.

Manage your stress:

Stress may slow healing and lead to illness. Learn ways to control stress, such as relaxation, deep breathing, and music. Talk to someone about things that upset you.

Wound care:

When you are allowed to bathe or shower, carefully wash the incisions with soap and water. Afterwards, put on clean, new bandages. Change your bandages any time they get wet or dirty. Ask your caregivers for more information about proper wound care.


  • You have a fever.
  • You have chills, a cough, or feel weak and achy.
  • You have dizziness, nausea (upset stomach), or vomiting (throwing up).
  • Your bandage becomes soaked with blood.
  • Your skin is itchy, swollen, or has a rash.
  • You have chest pain or trouble breathing that is getting worse over time.
  • You have questions or concerns about your surgery, condition, or care.


  • You have a fever, stiff neck, or an eye pain especially when looking directly at the lights.
  • You have pus or a foul-smelling odor coming from your incision.
  • You have severe headache that does not go away even after taking pain medicines.
  • You have trouble seeing, talking, or thinking clearly.
  • You passed out or had a convulsion.
  • Your face is getting numb or you cannot move your arms or legs.
  • You suddenly feel lightheaded and have trouble breathing.
  • You have new and sudden chest pain. You may have more pain when you take deep breaths or cough. You may cough up blood.
  • Your arm or leg feels warm, tender, and painful. It may look swollen and red.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Learn more about Transcranial Surgery for Pituitary Tumors (Aftercare Instructions)

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