OHSU

Treating Pituitary Disorders with Surgery

The OHSU Northwest Pituitary Center is a leader in new treatments for pituitary disorders. This includes the latest surgery techniques to remove pituitary tumors with less discomfort, allowing you to recover faster.

In 2002, our experts were some of the first doctors in the United States to use intraoperative magnetic resonance (MR) imaging during brain surgery.   

Most pituitary tumors are removed through the nose, in a procedure called transsphenoidal surgery. There are two main techniques: with a microscope and with an endoscope (a small, lighted tube).

Microscopic Transsphenoidal Surgery

If you have surgery to remove a pituitary tumor, it can be done through one nostril. At the OHSU Northwest Pituitary Center, we use intraoperative MR imaging to see inside your brain during surgery. This helps your surgeon see exactly where the tumor is and avoid damaging healthy brain tissue that is nearby.

During surgery, you are under general anesthesia (you're asleep during the procedure). Your doctor makes a tiny incision inside one nostril. He or she puts a small microscope in the surgical area. The microscope helps the doctor see the surgical area clearly. Tiny instruments are used to remove the tumor.

Endoscopic Transsphenoidal Surgery

Surgery to remove a pituitary tumor through the nose can be done with a microscope (see above) or endoscope (small, lighted tube).  

During surgery, you are under general anesthesia (you're asleep during the procedure). Your doctor makes a tiny incision inside one nostril. He or she puts the endoscope (thin, lighted tube) in the surgical area. The tube is connected to a TV monitor that helps your doctor see the surgical area even more clearly than with a microscope. Your doctor can also use intraoperative MR imaging to see inside your brain during surgery. This helps the doctor see exactly where the tumor is and avoid damaging healthy brain tissue that is nearby.