Pituitary Gland and Skull Base Surgery
If you need surgery to remove a skull base tumor—like an acoustic neuroma or meningioma—choosing an experienced health care team is vital.
That’s because the skull base, or the area behind your eyes and nose, is packed with delicate nerves and blood vessels. It contains important structures like your pituitary gland. And it’s right next to your brain and spinal cord.
University of Iowa Health Care is home to specially trained skull base surgeons who treat all skull base and pituitary tumors, plus problems like temporal bone fractures and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leaks.
Immediate evaluation and innovative treatment
Whether you have a pituitary adenoma or another type of skull base tumor, you want the right treatments, right away.
With UI Health Care, you won’t have to wait to get answers—or the care you need. Our skull base surgery team includes both neurosurgeons and otolaryngologists (head and neck surgeons). With so many experts available, we can consult with most patients within one day of receiving their most recent MRI or CT scans.
If you live locally, we aim to see you in person. If you live out of the area, we can arrange a telemedicine appointment or speak to you by phone.
During your consultation, we’ll discuss what surgical approach is likely to offer the most benefit with the fewest long-term side effects. We want you to feel well-informed before making any treatment decisions.
Sophisticated techniques and technology
All surgery comes with risks, but skull base surgery is especially challenging. Your surgeon must carefully work around nerves and muscles that help you see, speak, and more.
The full range of surgery options
Whenever possible, our skull base surgeons use minimally invasive techniques that require only a few small incisions.
For example, we may be able to remove a tumor through your nose instead of performing a craniotomy (removing a piece of your skull). Compared to open surgery, which does require a craniotomy, your recovery from minimally invasive surgery should be quicker and less painful.
If you do need open surgery, you’ll find yourself in capable hands. Our otolaryngologists and neurosurgeons frequently operate in pairs, offering dual expertise for the most complex surgeries.
A focus on preserving function
No matter what type of surgery you have, you can rest assured we’re focused on your long-term quality of life.
Because we perform so many skull base surgeries each year, we understand which approaches work best to remove different tumors—and protect nearby structures. This helps us preserve some of your most important abilities, including:
We also use imaging technology (intraoperative CT or MRI) during all major procedures. This helps us see tumors and surrounding structures up close, in real time.
Our approach to pituitary gland and skull base surgery
Our skull base surgeons frequently partner with other UI Health Care providers to make sure you receive complete care and support. Depending on your conditions, you may work with one or more of these providers.
Our team includes:
Medical oncologists who can prescribe chemotherapy, targeted therapy, and other medicines to treat cancerous skull base tumors.
Neuro-ophthalmologists who treat vision problems caused by skull base tumors.
Neuroradiologists who use radiation therapy to help shrink certain skull base tumors.
Pituitary gland and skull base surgery tests and treatments
- Brain port surgery
- Endoscopic endonasal surgery
- Endoscopic intraventricular surgery
- Keyhole surgery
- Orbital decompression
- Sinus surgery
- Skull base surgery
- Transoral robotic surgery
- Transsphenoidal surgery