News Release: Emory Healthcare , Winship Cancer Institute

Nov. 30,  2009

Emory Hospital Obtains 3-D Endoscope for Pituitary Tumors

News Article ImageEmory University Hospital

Emory University Hospital and the Emory Pituitary Center will soon be one of a handful of medical centers across the country using the latest 3-D endoscope for removal of pituitary tumors.

Beginning in December, Emory will be able to treat patients suffering from pituitary tumors with the 3-D stereoscopic vision system, manufactured by VisionSense, which will allow surgeons to remove pituitary tumors more accurately and safely.

This new surgical tool, equipped with a tiny video camera at the end of a narrow tube, gives the doctor the ability to understand spatial relationships, depth perception, and appreciate subtle but critical changes in form, shape and size of structures. This allows better navigation in the area at the base of the brain. Although 3-D technology has been in use for some time and Emory has performed over 50 pituitary procedures using the prior generation of 3-D endoscope, the newest technology will further improve patient outcomes and speed recovery.

“This really is a dramatic game-changer,” says Nelson M. Oyesiku, MD, PhD, FACS, professor of neurosurgery, Emory School of Medicine, and Al Lerner Chair and vice chairman, Department of Neurosurgery. “For many years, the standard has been to use traditional 2-D endoscopy technology, which had drawbacks because of the distortion and lack of depth inherent with 2-D vision. Three dimension vision is a valuable evolutionary adaptation, and it was a shame losing that level of human vision by compromising with 2-D, but it was the best we had.

“Now, 3-D technology has vastly improved the minimally invasive procedure of identifying and removing pituitary tumors, and 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 stay and a quicker recovery time,” Oyesiku says.

The pituitary is a small, pea-sized gland located at the base of the brain - also known as a “master gland," because it sends signals to the thyroid gland, adrenal glands, ovaries and testes, directing them to produce thyroid hormone, cortisol, estrogen, testosterone and many more. These hormones, in turn, have a dramatic effect on metabolism, blood pressure, sexuality, reproduction, and other vital body functions. In addition, the pituitary gland produces growth hormone for normal development of height and prolactin for milk production.   

Having the new 3-D endoscope is a tremendous aid for a surgeon who is operating on a small organ that is located at the base of brain, says Oyesiku.

“The pituitary is surrounded by nerves that supply the eye with movement and vision and blood vessels that supply the brain with blood,” he notes. “Three-dimensional imaging gives the surgeon depth perception, which is extremely important in an area like the pituitary.”

The Emory Pituitary Center offers a multidisciplinary clinical service with a team of specialists world-renowned for their expertise. The center provides state-of-the-art diagnostic services in all aspects of endocrinology and neuroradiology, and comprehensive therapy for pituitary and hypothalamic disorders, with specialization in neurosurgery and radiation and medical therapy. The program’s Laboratory of Molecular Neurosurgery and Biotechnology is a leading center for research in the molecular biology of pituitary tumors. 


The Robert W. Woodruff Health Sciences Center of Emory University is an academic health science and service center focused on missions of teaching, research, health care and public service.

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Twitter: @emoryhealthsci

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