What are the different types of pituitary tumor surgery?

Transsphenoidal tumor resection is a procedure in which the surgeon extracts the tumor through the nose. In endoscopic transsphenoidal surgery, an instrument called an endoscope is inserted through the nose and allows the neurosurgeon to see a high-resolution image of the tumor. The surgery is called "transsphenoidal" because the surgeon accesses the pituitary gland by going through the sphenoid sinus (located underneath the pituitary gland).

A minimally-invasive craniotomy may be necessary if the pituitary tumor cannot be properly accessed with a transsphenoidal approach. A craniotomy is performed by making a small incision in the skull in order to access the skull-base. This type of pituitary surgery is much less common than endoscopic transsphenoidal surgery.