OHSU

Transsphenoidal Surgery

Transsphenoidal surgery is done to remove pituitary tumors and some other tumors. Your neurosurgeon (doctor specializing in brain and nervous system surgery) makes a small incision (cut) at the bottom of your nostrils or under your upper lip. If you have transsphenoidal surgery, your neurosurgeon does not need to make another incision in your face or head. Doctors at the OHSU Brain Institute are experts in transsphenoidal surgery.

There are two main ways to do transsphenoidal surgery:

  • With a microscope (magnifying tool)
  • With an endoscope (thin, lighted tube with a tiny camera)

Microscopic Transsphenoidal Surgery

Microscopic transsphenoidal surgery is often used to remove pituitary tumors. Your neurosurgeon uses advanced MRI imaging to scan the area around the tumor before surgery. This helps him or her locate the tumor and remove it without damaging healthy tissue nearby.

To remove the tumor, your neurosurgeon makes a small incision inside your nostril and places a tiny microscope in the surgery area. The microscope magnifies the area (makes everything look much larger) so your doctor can remove the tumor with tiny instruments. Being able to see the tumor with a microscope and using very small, delicate instruments helps your doctor remove the tumor out without damaging nearby sensitive structures. You also have less discomfort after surgery.

Microscopic transsphenoidal surgery is done under general anesthesia (you're asleep and don't remember the procedure when you wake up).

Endoscopic Transsphenoidal Surgery

Endoscopic transsphenoidal surgery is also used to remove pituitary tumors. Your neurosurgeon may use advanced MRI imaging to scan the area before surgery. This helps him or her locate the tumor and remove it without damaging healthy tissue nearby.

To remove the tumor, your neurosurgeon makes a small incision inside your nostril and places an endoscope (thin lighted tube with a camera) in the surgery area. The endoscope camera sends images to a television (TV) monitor. This gives your doctor a better view and larger picture than a microscope. Being able see the tumor close up and use very small, delicate instruments helps your doctor remove the tumor without damaging nearby sensitive structures. You also have less discomfort after surgery.

Endoscopic transsphenoidal surgery is done under general anesthesia (you're asleep and don't remember the procedure when you wake up).