, Volume 28, Issue 1, pp 67–75 | Cite as

Treatment of pituitary tumors

  • Michael Buchfelder


Following a century of technical developments and refinements, a variety of standard operation techniques to date are available for the surgical treatment of pituitary tumors. The vast majority of the lesions can be dealt with satisfactorily utilizing transsphenoidal approaches. The goal of surgical treatment is rapid eradication of the tumor mass, decompression of visual pathways, and elimination of hormonal oversecretion while preserving the normal gland and avoiding potential surgical complications. The tumor’s size, extension, and configuration and the magnitude of hormonal oversecretion, are the essential factors that decide whether all the goals can be reached. Another important factor is the individual skill and experience of the surgeon. Still, several lesions that are mainly developed outside of the sella require transcranial approaches, of which the pterional and subfrontal routes are the most widely used. With microsurgical techniques and standard approaches, mortality is far below 1% and morbidity is remarkably low. The most favorable surgical results are obtained with microadenomas, which in the MR image are depicted as distinct low intensity lesions. Only recently has the recovery of pituitary function following surgery been convincingly demonstrated. With the extended transsphenoidal approaches, lesions become accessible that previously have been considered contraindications for transsphenoidal surgery. The introduction of new technical gadgets such as neuronavigation, endoscopy, and intraoperative imaging open new avenues and, even more, widen the spectrum of accessible lesions. Indications for surgery, the preoperative workup, surgical techniques, results, limitations, and new technical developments are briefly reviewed in this article.

Key Words

Complications pituitary adenomas technical developments transcranial approach transsphenoidal approach surgical indications surgical results 


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Copyright information

© Humana Press Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of NeurosurgeryUniversity of Erlangen-Nüremberg Medical SchoolErlangenGermany

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