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Surgery for pituitary tumor

The pituitary gland

The pituitary gland is located partly in the anterior lobe and partly in the brain. The mentioned anterior lobe is responsible for the control of the levels of lactation, body steroids, sex hormone, growth hormone and thyroid gland, while the pituitary gland is responsible for the entire system of the hormones. If the tumor of pituitary gland happens, in most cases it is benign, but regardless of its type or location, prognosis is usually good, since most tumors can be removed. Tumors can develop on the structures located behind the eyeballs, and they are called cavernous sinuses. These structures are important, since they are responsible for eye movement and eye nerves. If the mentioned tumor is developed, patients will experience headache, eyeball protrusion and double vision. 


Next we will talk about some of the syndromes which suggest the type of tumor. If speaking of the most common ones, the first is the prolactin syndrome, which involves the tumor located on the pituitary glands prolactin secreting cells. This is one of the most common and produces problems with menstrual cycle, breast milk production and decrease of the levels of calcium in bones. This tumor can easily be removed in early stage, while later stage is somewhat different.

Gigantism syndrome involves growth hormone that is secreted from the cells of the pituitary gland. This tumor produces protruding the eyebrows, acute arthritis, large and protruding jaw. If the tumor is not connected with secretion, radiation can be used for the treatment of these tumors, though the treatment may involve a surgery as well. These tumors cause vision problems and extremely big tumor size. If the tumor is developed in the adrenal cortiocotrophin hormone secreting cell, Cushing disease is created. This tumor can be difficult to locate, since it is small in size. It produces fat deposits, skin scarring, high body temperature, pimples and increased blood pressure. Surgery is the only treatment available.


Since the pituitary gland is located behind the nose, in past times brain surgery was needed. Today, risks can be reduced if the surgery is performed through the nasal cavity. In later stages, tumor can produce pituitary apoplexy, which is like a stroke. If this happens, double vision and acute headaches will be felt.

When we talk about surgeries, the medium tumors are easy to remove, and after that, the gland will resume to function properly. This also goes for the large tumors with necrotic centers. If the prolactinomas are found, medications will be needed. They are used before the surgery to decrease the tumor's size. Treatment of the microprolactinomas is not recommended, since they usually stay for years and cause no great problems. 

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