Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Pituitary Tumour Surgery: Hypophysectomy or Adenectomy?

I can't believe that it's March already! This time last year, I was in a flurry of nervousness, waiting to find out the date of my pituitary surgery. Before setting a definite date, you get the chance to meet your surgeon and you're called in for a pre-operative assessment.

At the time, I was informed that the full name for standard pituitary surgery is transsphenoidal hypophysectomy. On reflection, this seems strange because "hypophys-ectomy" implies that they're aiming to cut out ("-ectomy") the whole pituitary gland ("hypophys-") when, in fact, the aim is to cut out the pituitary tumour while leaving the healthy gland intact. I've also seen the phrase "transsphenoidal adenectomy" used for the same procedure, but in fact that's even less specific as the "aden-" part just means "gland", so an adenectomy is simply the surgical removal of any gland. An adenoma-ectomy would indicate surgery to cut out a glandular tumour, and a quick scan of Google indicates that this phrase is also in use amongst the medical profession. How confusing.

Excuse the unexciting etymological rambling, but this has literally only just occurred to me.


A word of advice to anyone about to undergo pituitary surgery: don't tell your friends and family that you're going to a pre-op assessment for a transsphenoidal hypophysectomy. They will either gaze at you blankly and without comprehension, or they will hone in on the words "pre-op" (as in TRANSSEXUAL) and "blah-blah-physectomy" (sounds a bit like VASECTOMY) and ask if you're secretly a man.*

This may be upsetting.

In any case, I think that the pre-operative assessment and Question Time with Mr Surgeon probably deserve posts to themselves, so on that bombshell... adieu.

* Or presumably, if you are male, whether you're about to become a woman.

1 comment:

  1. Hi there! glad to drop by your page and found these very interesting and informative stuff. Thanks for sharing, keep it up!
    - pituitary tumor