By all appearances, the pituitary gland is an unpretentious little structure. The size of a pea, it”s located deep within the skull at the base of the brain.
Yet the pituitary is indispensable. Known as the master gland, it directs other glands to produce hormones that affect metabolism, blood pressure, sexuality, reproduction, and development and growth, as well as other bodily functions.
So when something goes wrong with the pituitary, such as the development of a tumor, the consequences can be serious, even life threatening. Relatively common, pituitary tumors initially can be difficult to diagnose and once found difficult to remove from the gland”s highly enervated environment.
Emory”s Pituitary Center is one of a handful of medical centers across the country using the latest 3-D endoscope for removal of pituitary tumors, a delicate and precise procedure. Having the new 3-D endoscope is a tremendous aid for a surgeon who is operating on a small organ located at the base of the brain, says Emory neurosurgeon Nelson Oyesiku.
“This really is a dramatic game-changer,”# Oyesiku says. “For many years, the standard has been to use traditional 2-D endoscopy technology, which had drawbacks because of the distortion and lack of depth inherent with 2-D vision. The pituitary is surrounded by nerves that supply the eye with movement and vision and blood vessels that supply the brain with blood. Three-dimensional imaging gives the surgeon depth perception, which is extremely important in an area like the pituitary.”#
The new surgical tool, equipped with a tiny video camera at the end of a narrow tube, allows the physician to discern spatial relationships as well as subtle but critical changes in structures” form, shape, and size.
The latest evolution of this technology provides surgeons with the best visuals, which in turn means better clinical outcomes, safer operations, better patient satisfaction, less time in the operating room, shorter hospital stays, and quicker recovery time, according to Oyesiku. “Robin Tricoles
WebConnection To preview the new website on the Emory Pituitary Center, visit emoryhealthcare.org/pituitary. To see a video of Dr. Oyesiku performing 3D endoscopic surgery on a patient with acromegaly (a condition similar to gigantism), visit emoryhealthcare.org/pituitarysurgery. To make an appointment, call 404-778-5770.