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.
â€œThis really is a dramatic game-changer,â€ says Oyesiku who is professor and vice chair, Department of Neurosurgery at Emory School of Medicine. â€œFor many years, the standard has been to use traditional 2-D endoscopy technology, which had drawbacks because of the distortion and lack of depth. The 3-D imaging gives the surgeon depth perception, extremely important in a sensitive area like the pituitary.â€
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.