Pituitary adenomas are benign tumors which arise from the pituitary gland itself. They are almost never malignant. Pituitary tumors can be either secretory or nonsecretory, referring to whether they overproduce pituitary hormones. What this means is that a tumor which is secretory is secreting, or releasing, excessive hormones into the bloodstream, potentially causing disease.
Secretory tumors commonly require surgery, as they may result in serious hormonal imbalances. Nonsecretory tumors may also require surgery depending on the size of the tumor, and because of the location on the pituitary gland. At Athens Brain & Spine, treatment of pituitary tumors is done through transsphenoidal surgery, a process by which the tumor is surgically removed through a very small hole with the aid of a high powered operating microscope. Typically, the incision is made in the back of the nose, though it can also be made inside the lip; the former is minimally invasive and can be done endoscopically.
The tumor is removed by cutting it up into pieces-- due to the size of the incision, most large tumors will not fit through in one piece. Because of this, a second surgery may be required if parts of the tumor are inaccessible during the first procedure.
The potential risks of pituitary surgery are primarily damage to the gland itself-- usually, this means that you will simply have to take hormone medications after the procedure to rectify any problems. You may also experience nasal congestion or nose bleeds for a short time after the operation.