Transsphenoidal Endoscopic Resection

During a transsphenoidal endoscopic resection, our neurosurgeons use special instruments to go through the nose and the sphenoid sinus — a new, minimally invasive way to remove problematic pituitary tumors. While the approach is not appropriate for all pituitary tumors, it can effectively remove many of those that are:

  • Benign (non-cancerous) but causing headaches, squeezing on the nerves controlling vision or prompting the pituitary gland to produce too many or too few hormones
  • Malignant (cancerous)

In some cases, our neurosurgeons also need to use a surgical microscope to remove the tumor, a procedure called a transsphenoidal endoscope-assisted resection. Learn more about the symptoms of a pituitary tumor and our diagnostic approach.

Endoscopic Pituitary Tumor Surgery at St. Joseph’s Hospital

Our neurosurgery program offers patients with pituitary tumors the best care possible:

  • Team approach: Our neurosurgeons partner with skilled ear, nose and throat (ENT) surgeons, ensuring comprehensive care before, during and after surgery.
  • Expertise: Our experienced team knows when the best approach is to simply monitor a benign pituitary tumor with regular magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans, when to prescribe medications and when to operate.
  • Technology: A special computer-assisted navigation system works like GPS — creating a 3D “map” of the tumor and surrounding structures out of scans taken before the operation, then guiding surgeons when they insert their instruments. Later, the surgeons can use a special, open (low-field) MRI during surgery (intraoperative) to check how much tumor has been removed.
  • Safeguards: The team removes as much tumor as safely possible, taking care to protect surrounding structures like nerves and arteries, while preserving nasal tissue and your sense of smell.

Transsphenoidal Endoscopic Resection: What to Expect

There are several steps our neurosurgeons and ENT surgeons take when performing a transsphenoidal endoscopic resection:

  • You receive general anesthesia to put you completely to sleep.
  • The surgeons set up the computer-assisted navigation system.
  • The team prepares their endoscopes — thin tubes with a camera, light and magnification that provide 3D images for the surgeons to watch on high-definition monitors.
  • The endoscope is threaded through the nose toward the tumor, with a small portion of the nasal septum, the sphenoid sinus wall and the bone (sella) covering the pituitary gland removed.
  • Instruments inserted through the endoscope remove the tumor.
  • Your surgeon repairs the sella and the sphenoid sinus wall.
  • You recover in the hospital for a day or two, with a follow-up MRI.

Contact Us

For more information or for a physician referral, please call (813) 644-4322.