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Problems with the pituitary gland are rare but they may include benign (non-cancerous) growths or tumours.
What is pituitary surgery?
Your pituitary gland produces hormones to control the function of several other glands in your body including:
- Adrenal glands (help the body deal with stress)
- Thyroid (controls heart rate, temperature and metabolism)
- Ovaries (women)
- Testes (men)
As a central part of your endocrine system, your pituitary gland releases hormones to stimulate these glands or depress them as needed. Your pituitary gland is located at the base of your brain just under the bridge of your nose. Normally is about the size of a pea.
Left untreated your pituitary gland may not function correctly causing an increase or decrease in your hormonal balance. Your consultant may recommend surgery to remove the tumour.
What happens during pituitary surgery?
There are several methods of tumour removal. Most are minimally invasive meaning removal may be done through your nose and sinuses using a small tube with a special lens at the end called an endoscope. CT or MRI scans may also help your consultant safely remove a tumour.
In some cases an incision in your skull (craniotomy) may be required - for example if your surgeon cannot reach the tumour through your nose. However, craniotomies are less common these days. You can discuss what method will be used with your consultant.
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