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Transcranial Surgery for Pituitary Tumors


Transcranial surgery for pituitary tumors is used to remove a tumor on the pituitary gland. The pituitary gland is located behind the bridge of the nose and below the brain.


The week before your surgery:

  • Write down the correct date, time, and location of your surgery.
  • Arrange a ride home. Ask a family member or friend to drive you home after your surgery or procedure. Do not drive yourself home.
  • Ask your healthcare provider if you need to stop using aspirin or any other prescribed or over-the-counter medicine before your procedure or surgery.
  • Bring your medicine bottles or a list of your medicines when you see your healthcare provider. Tell your provider if you are allergic to any medicine. Tell your provider if you use any herbs, food supplements, or over-the-counter medicine.
  • You may need x-rays, a CT scan, an MRI, and blood tests before surgery. Talk to your healthcare provider about these or other tests you may need. Write down the date, time, and location for each test.

The night before your surgery:

  • You may be given medicine to help you sleep.
  • Ask healthcare providers about directions for eating and drinking.
  • You may be given a liquid medicine called an enema. This will be put into your rectum to help empty your bowel. Your healthcare provider will teach you how to do this.

The day of your surgery:

  • Ask your healthcare provider before you take any medicine on the day of your surgery. Bring a list of all the medicines you take, or your pill bottles, with you to the hospital. Providers will check that your medicines will not interact poorly with the medicine you need for surgery.
  • You or a close family member will be asked to sign a legal document called a consent form. It gives healthcare providers permission to do the procedure or surgery. It also explains the problems that may happen, and your choices. Make sure all your questions are answered before you sign this form.
  • Healthcare providers may insert an intravenous tube (IV) into your vein. A vein in the arm is usually chosen. Through the IV tube, you may be given liquids and medicine.
  • An anesthesiologist will talk to you before your surgery. You may need medicine to keep you asleep or numb an area of your body during surgery. Tell healthcare providers if you or anyone in your family has had a problem with anesthesia in the past.


What will happen:

  • An endotracheal tube connected to a breathing machine may be put into your mouth to help you breathe during surgery. Your surgeon will make an incision on your forehead or the side of your head. He will use instruments, drills, and a small chisel to open or make a hole in your skull.
  • Your surgeon will remove a piece of your skull and cut and open the coverings over your brain. He will gently lift the lower part of your brain to get to the pituitary tumor. Once the pituitary tumor is exposed, it will be removed. Your surgeon may use metal plates or screws to reattach the part of the skull that was removed. He will close the incisions on your head with stitches or staples. A bandage will then be placed over your incisions and around your head to control bleeding.

After your surgery:

You will be taken to a room to rest until you are fully awake. You will be monitored closely for any problems. Do not get out of bed until your healthcare provider says it is okay. You will then be able to go home or be taken to your hospital room. The bandages used to cover your stitches keep the area clean and dry to prevent infection. A healthcare provider may remove the bandages soon after your surgery to check your incision wound.


  • You cannot make it to your surgery.
  • You have a fever.
  • You get a cold or the flu.
  • You have questions or concerns about your surgery.

Seek Care Immediately if

  • You have a sudden severe headache.
  • You have trouble seeing, breathing, speaking, or thinking clearly.
  • You fainted or had a seizure.
  • Your face is getting numb or you cannot move your arms or legs.


Problems may happen during this surgery that may lead to more brain surgeries. Your brain, eyes, bones, blood vessels, or nerves may get injured during surgery. You may bleed more than expected, get an infection, or have trouble breathing. Your hormone levels may change suddenly and cause serious problems. Your tumor may not be completely removed during surgery. You may get a blood clot in your leg or arm. This may become life-threatening.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

© Copyright IBM Corporation 2018 Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or IBM Watson Health

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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 (Precare)

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