Pituitary Surgery

Presse Med. 2021 Dec;50(4):104079. doi: 10.1016/j.lpm.2021.104079. Epub 2021 Oct 21.


Surgery, more specifically transsphenoidal approach, remains the primary treatment chosen for the majority of pituitary tumors (except for prolactinomas where medical treatment is indicated) allowing for pathologic analysis and complete or partial tumor removal. Transcranial approaches, employing craniotomies, are still needed in some patients with giant pituitary adenomas and in many of those harboring craniopharyngiomas. However, the surgical treatment of pituitary tumors is challenging because of their complex anatomical location and their heterogenous histology. Due to the proximity of critical structures, a successful surgical procedure may often not be achievable due to the high risks related to the procedure itself. Therefore, the treatment of pituitary tumors in 2020 commonly requires a multimodal approach, including surgery, radiosurgery, radiation therapy, and medical therapy. Recently, efforts have been made to develop intraoperative imaging, by increasing the diffusion of radiosurgery. Furthermore, the development of Pituitary Tumor Centers of Excellence (PTCOE) is becoming crucial to provide the optimal treatment for a single patient. There is in fact sufficient evidence that the best and optimal outcome in terms of tumor resection and correction of hormonal over secretion as well as the lowest rate of complications are obtained in centers of excellence with sufficiently experienced, specialized surgeons and a high patient load. Technological developments will probably even gain increasing importance in the future.

Keywords: Pituitary surgery; Pituitary tumors; Radiosurgery; Transcranial approach; Transsphenoidal approach.

Publication types

  • Historical Article
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Combined Modality Therapy / methods
  • Craniopharyngioma / surgery
  • Craniotomy / methods
  • Fluorescence
  • History, 19th Century
  • History, 20th Century
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Interventional
  • Neuronavigation
  • Organs at Risk
  • Pituitary Neoplasms / history
  • Pituitary Neoplasms / pathology
  • Pituitary Neoplasms / radiotherapy
  • Pituitary Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Prolactinoma / drug therapy
  • Radiosurgery
  • Sphenoid Bone / surgery
  • Ultrasonography, Interventional