Pituitary Surgery and Tumours

pituitary tumours

What are Pituitary Surgery and Tumours?

The pituitary gland, found at the base of our brain, can develop tumours. Pituitary surgery is an operation in Singapore where a surgeon extracts these tumours from the pituitary gland. Although the pituitary gland is tiny, approximately the size of a pea, it plays an important role in several bodily functions, such as growth, function, and reproductive development. This is because of the hormones it produces.

Pituitary tumours are often benign (medically known as pituitary adenomas) and stay contained, yet it is important to remove them through surgery as they can cause several health problems. They can cause the body to produce excessive hormones or enlarge and press on important nerves and parts of the brain. This may lead to vision loss, weight gain, headaches, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, decreased libido, heat or cold intolerance, and more conditions that impact daily life. 

pituitary gland
The pituitary gland is responsible for the production of various hormones.

How does Pituitary Surgery Treatment work? 

Pituitary surgery today is typically carried out using an endoscope route through the inside of the nose. It is also known as endoscopic transsphenoidal pituitary surgery. The endoscope is a thin, rigid fibre-optic tube attached to a high-definition camera and light source, allowing the surgeon to view the surgical area from the front of the nose, all the way to the inside of the pituitary gland and beyond. When done through endoscopy, it is known as a minimally invasive surgery and can be safely performed without any open scars on the face. The technology available today allows the surgeon to visualise the interiors of the nose and pituitary gland with great clarity (as high as 4K resolution), thereby ensuring safe and expedient surgery. 

Patients are normally put under general anaesthesia (GA) during this operation, which prevents them from feeling any pain or discomfort. During pituitary surgery to remove tumours, the endoscope is placed inside the nose. Then, a complete set of specially designed small tools or microsurgical instruments are moved through the nose to open the walls of the sphenoid sinus and bone to gain access to the pituitary gland, thereby extracting the tumour. At the end of the procedure, the surgeon inspects the area where the tumour was removed, closes any open communication between the brain and the nose, and packs the nostrils with soft foam packing. 

Afterwards, the patient may need to stay at the hospital for a few days for monitoring after the operation. Your surgeon will check on you and monitor your progress. 

endoscopic pituitary surgery
An endoscopic pituitary surgery or transsphenoidal pituitary surgery is a minimally invasive procedure used to remove tumours arising from the pituitary gland.

Benefits of Endoscopic Transsphenoidal Pituitary Surgery

  • Minimally invasive when done through endoscopy
  • Removes tumours safely
  • Does not leave a scar
  • Relieves symptoms of pituitary tumours

Make an appointment with Dr Soma today!

What conditions can Pituitary Surgery treat in Singapore?

As pituitary tumours affect the gland that produces several hormones that are important for daily function and may press on optic nerves, there are several conditions that pituitary surgery can effectively treat. The common ones are:

  • Vision loss and eyesight problems
  • headaches
  • Hormone imbalances
  • Obesity and weight gain
  • Infertility
  • Menstrual irregularities
  • Bone structure changes in the face
  • Erectile dysfunction
pituitary tumours
From hormone imbalances to headaches, pituitary tumours can cause various health problems that impact everyday life.

What results can I expect?

The exact results will depend on the individual, as the tumour may affect people differently. You should expect improvement in symptoms caused by hormone imbalances or the tumour pressing on your optic nerves, such as eyesight issues and headaches. 

After the surgery, it may take up to six weeks to fully recover, and your nose may feel sore initially. You will likely need to take 1-2 weeks off work and exercise to rest. Your doctor will give you a list of instructions, such as avoiding blowing your nose for the first two weeks or heavy lifting/straining. Your doctor will schedule follow-up appointments to monitor your progress. 

How many treatment sessions are needed?

In most cases, endoscopic pituitary surgery is done in one session, although it depends on the tumour size and other factors. 

At the Allergy & Sinus ENT Specialist Clinic in Singapore, we offer a complete range of treatment options, including pituitary gland surgery for tumours. Best results are assured as we do these cases as a combined ENT/Neurosurgery team. Book a consultation to find out more.

Frequently asked questions

How long does it take to recover from pituitary surgery?

It may take six to eight weeks to recover from this surgery. However, you will likely be functional shortly after surgery due to the minimal access nature of this surgery. 

When is pituitary surgery needed?

It is normally recommended when medications for certain tumours have failed or it is impacting your health, causing problems such as vision loss, headaches, and hormone imbalances.

Is a pituitary tumour serious?
The pituitary gland is an important part of the endocrine system. It plays an important role in regulating many bodily functions, so tumours may impact its ability to produce hormones correctly. Pituitary tumours are often benign but, as mentioned above, may cause serious health problems and impact daily life.

Allergy & Sinus ENT Specialist Centre
Head & Neck Surgery Singapore

Dr Soma Subramaniam
Consultant ENT Specialist and Surgeon
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