Although the size of a pea, the pituitary gland, located deep within the skull at the base of the brain, is indispensible.
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 because they are surrounded by so many nerves, such as those that supply the eye with movement and vision and blood vessels that supply the brain with blood.
Emoryâ€™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 when operating on a small organ at the base of the brain, says Emory neurosurgeon Nelson Oyesiku, MD, PhD.