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Transsphenoidal Surgery for Pituitary Tumors
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
What do I need to know about transsphenoidal surgery for pituitary tumors?
This surgery is done to remove a tumor on the pituitary gland. The pituitary gland is attached to the brain and sits behind the bridge of the nose.
How do I prepare for surgery?
- Your surgeon will tell you how to prepare for surgery. He or she may tell you not to eat or drink anything after midnight on the day of your surgery. Arrange to have someone drive you home after surgery.
- Tell your surgeon about all medicines you currently take. He or she will tell you if you need to stop any medicine for surgery, and when to stop. He or she will tell you which medicines to take or not take on the day of surgery.
- You may need to have x-rays, a CT scan, an MRI, and blood tests.
What will happen during surgery?
- General anesthesia will keep you asleep and free from pain during surgery. Your surgeon will make an incision inside your nose or on your upper gums. He or she will open the walls of the sphenoid sinus. He or she will then remove the pituitary tumor with 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 should I expect after 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. The bandages used to cover your stitches keep the area clean and dry to prevent infection. A healthcare provider may remove your bandages soon after surgery to check your wound.
- You will be helped to walk around after surgery. Movement will help prevent blood clots. You may also be given exercises to do in bed.
- Medicines may be given to prevent or treat pain, a bacterial infection, or nausea. You may need medicine to control seizures or help decrease swelling in your brain. Certain hormones normally produced by the pituitary may need to be replaced with medicines.
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 develop a life-threatening blood clot.
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