Frequently Asked Questions
- Are there any restrictions after endoscopic, transphenoidal surgery
and how long is the recovery period?
After endoscopic surgery, your nose may feel stuffed for a few
days but there will be no packing. You should not blow
your nose for two weeks so that the reconstruction of the skull base
is not dislodged. Most people go home between 2-4 days
after surgery depending on the size of the tumor, the risk of leakage
of cerebrospinal fluid and the function of the pituitary gland. You
may feel tired and not have your full energy for a few weeks after
surgery but this should shortly return to normal.
- Will my pituitary function be normal after the surgery?
The risk of damaging the normal pituitary is always present during
pituitary and parasellar tumor surgery. This risk increases
with the size of the tumor. It is important during surgery
for pituitary tumors and craniopharyngiomas that the entire tumor
be removed to try and cure the disease. If this results
in the loss of pituitary function, then hormone replacement therapy
can be instituted. Nevertheless, the risk of permanent damage
to the normal pituitary is usually quite low.
- What is the chance of recurrence of my tumor after surgery?
Most benign tumors in the brain are slow growing and can invade
adjacent structures. If the tumor has invaded the cavernous
sinus, which is an adjacent vein that contains the carotid artery
and the nerves that control eye movements, then the tumor cannot
be completely removed with surgery. In this case, the risk
of recurrence is high and radiation therapy is usually recommended. If
the tumor has been completely removed, the risk of recurrence is
lower and may be less than 10%. In spite of aggressive
surgical therapy, the surgeon may leave microscopic cells behind
that cannot be seen and may grow into larger tumors over time. Using
the endoscopic technique, with its improved visualization over traditional
microscope-based surgery, the risk of recurrence should be lower.
- What is a spinal drain and will I need one after surgery?
A spinal drain is a very thin catheter that is sometimes placed in the
lower spine to drain cerebrospinal fluid. Most patients do not require
a lumbar drain after surgery. However, if there is a leakage of cerebrospinal
fluid that occurs during your surgery, occasionally your surgeon will elect
to place a lumbar drain to assist in the healing process. If this
occurs, your hospitalization may last 3-5 days.
| Contact Us
Institute of Minimally Invasive Skull Base and Pituitary Surgery