A surgical microscope is a device that helps a surgeon see the pituitary region better. The microscope shines light on the pituitary region from nearly 10 to nearly 16 inches away (25 to 40 centimeters). The surgeon looks through the eyepieces in the micrscope to see the pituitary gland. The microscope is fixed to a large stand that allows the surgeon to move it a little bit at a time.
The microscope offers a surgeon several advantages during pituitary surgery, including:
- Being able to see with both eyes
- Being able to shine light on the area
- Ease of movement
At the same time, there are disadvantages to microscope surgery, including:
- A relatively limited field of view, especially when the endonasal approach is used
- Limited vision to the sides
- Limited vision directly on top of the pituitary gland
Most neurosurgeons are familiar and comfortable with the microscope. The microscope is used routinely for transphenoidal surgery. This is called microscopic endonasal surgery. In some situations, both the microscope and the endoscope are used during pituitary surgery.