Surgery for acromegaly: Evolution of the techniques and outcomes

  • Edward R. LawsEmail author


This paper presents an overview of the evolution of pituitary surgery for acromegaly. It begins with the first case, attempted in 1893, through the initial transsphenoidal successes in 1907–1910, to the development of effective craniotomy approaches, and ultimately to the resurrection of the transsphenoidal approach in the 1970s and thereafter. Today, the minimally endoscopic transnasal endoscopic approach is fast becoming the norm. Indications for surgery include active acromegaly, visual loss and other forms of mass effect, pituitary tumor apoplexy, and failure of other therapies (medical, radiation). Contraindications include advanced age, debility or other medical conditions increasing the risk of general anaesthesia or surgery. Surgery for acromegaly has the advantage of immediate lowering of the growth hormone excess, with endocrine remission rates of 70% for microadenomas and 50% for macroadenomas. When surgery fails to obtain remission, a program of therapy is designed for the patient to include adjunctive medical therapy (dopamine agonists, somatostatin analogs, and growth hormone receptor antagonists), radiation therapy or radiosurgery (Gamma knife, Cyberknife, etc.).


Acromegaly Pituitary tumors Transsphenoidal approach Craniotomy approach Microadenomas Minimally invasive surgery Endonasal surgery 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of NeurosurgeryStanford University Medical CenterStanfordUSA

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