Skip to Content

Transsphenoidal Surgery for Pituitary Tumors


What do I need to know about transsphenoidal surgery for pituitary tumors?

Transsphenoidal surgery for pituitary tumors is done to remove a tumor on the pituitary gland.

How do I prepare for transsphenoidal surgery?

Your healthcare provider will talk to you about how to prepare for surgery. He may tell you not to eat or drink anything after midnight on the day of your surgery. He will tell you what medicines to take or not take on the day of your surgery.

What will happen during transsphenoidal surgery?

  • General anesthesia will keep you asleep and free from pain during surgery. An endotracheal tube connected to a breathing machine may be put into your windpipe to keep your airway open and help you breathe during your surgery.
  • Your surgeon will make an incision inside your nose or on your upper gums. He will use retractors, forceps, or a small chisel to open the walls of the sphenoid sinus. Your surgeon will also cut and open the coverings of your brain to get to the pituitary gland. He will then remove the pituitary tumor using an endoscope and other small tools. An endoscope is a bendable tube with a light and camera on the end. The openings and incisions will be closed with stitches. Your incisions will be covered with a bandage. Nasal packing, such as gauze or cotton, may be placed in your nostrils.

What are the risks of transsphenoidal surgery?

Problems may happen during surgery that may lead to a craniotomy (open brain surgery). Your brain, eyes, bones, blood vessels, or nerves may get injured during surgery. You may bleed more than expected or get an infection. Your hormone levels may suddenly change and cause serious problems. Your surgeon may not be able to remove the tumor completely. 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. 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.

© 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

Further information

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

Learn more about Transsphenoidal Surgery for Pituitary Tumors

IBM Watson Micromedex