Neurosurgical Associates of Central Jersey
Navigating Pituitary Tumor Surgery: From Diagnosis Through Healing

Pituitary tumor surgery is a procedure in which an abnormal growth in the pituitary gland is surgically removed.

Here’s more about when this brain tumor surgery is needed and how to request an appointment with Neurosurgical Associates of Central Jersey if you are experiencing symptoms of a pituitary tumor.

What Is the Pituitary Gland?

The pituitary gland, or hypophysis cerebri, is a small, pea-sized organ attached to the hypothalamus. It is nestled at the base of the brain and is responsible for secreting and regulating several hormones, including cortisol and reproductive hormones.

What Are the Symptoms of a Pituitary Tumor?

Pituitary adenomas are usually benign and don’t always cause symptoms.

When they do occur, symptoms of a pituitary tumor are the same as those of many other medical conditions and will vary depending on the hormones being affected by the tumor.

Pituitary tumor symptoms may include:

  • Headache
  • Fertility problems
  • Vision changes
  • Joint pain
  • Excess sweating
  • Irregular heart rate
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Seizures

How Is a Pituitary Tumor Diagnosed?

This brain tumor may be found when you undergo diagnostic testing for a separate condition or when you present to your physician with symptoms.

Diagnostic tests for pituitary tumors include:

  • Blood and urine testing
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Computed tomography (CT) scan
  • Vision testing
  • Hormone testing

Neurosurgeons, ophthalmologists and endocrinologists may all be involved in diagnosing a pituitary tumor. Certain types of pituitary tumors can be treated with medication but many will require surgery.

What Should Patients Do To Prepare for Surgery?

In the days leading up to your surgery, your neurosurgeon may advise you to stop taking certain medications that increase bleeding. You may also be required to fast for several hours beforehand.

Your neurosurgeon will provide you with detailed pre-op instructions and answer any questions you have before the day of your surgery.

What Are the Details of Pituitary Tumor Surgery?

Pituitary tumor surgery is performed as an inpatient procedure under general anesthesia and requires hospitalization for one to three days.

Transnasal transsphenoidal surgery (also known as adenomectomy) is the most common surgical procedure for removing a pituitary tumor.

During adenomectomy, an approach is taken through the nose or through an incision made under the upper lip. Tiny surgical instruments are passed through the opening to remove the tumor in small pieces. When the surgery is complete, the incision is closed and the nostrils are packed for several days.

What Is Recovery From Pituitary Tumor Surgery Like?

Hormonal changes and cerebrospinal fluid leakage are extremely common during this time, as well as a condition called diabetes insipidus that causes high salt levels and frequent urination. Headaches are also common after surgery, which can be managed using pain medications.

After you are discharged from the hospital, your at-home recovery will last between four and six weeks. Your neurosurgeon will advise against driving, blowing your nose and performing strenuous activities while you heal. You may also be advised to avoid swimming and dying your hair during this time.

Your neurosurgeon will schedule a series of follow-up appointments to check your hormone levels, vision and brain function. You may also undergo routine imaging tests to check whether the tumor has come back.

Contact Neurosurgical Associates of Central Jersey at (732) 302-1720 to request an appointment if you are concerned about a pituitary gland tumor. Our experts can review your medical history, perform an examination and talk to you about our neurological brain services.

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