Pituitary Innovation and Teaching

Dr. John Lee video

Video transcript

I’m Dr. John Lee, I’m one of the otolaryngologists (ear nose and throat surgeons) here at St. Michael’s Hospital and I’m one of the members in the pituitary program and team. Myself and also our chief in the Ear Nose and Throat department, Dr. Jennifer Anderson, are the members in the pituitary program.

So if you take a look at the skull, the pituitary gland sits right here, at the base. In the old days, you would have to approach this using more invasive approaches, sometimes through cuts on the face, sometimes through a craniotomy, sometimes through cuts underneath the lip and upper gum. But over the last 15-20 years, we’ve understood that we can actually be more minimally invasive and use the nose and use the sinuses to access this area. To understand that, you can split the skull in half and sort of see that if the pituitary gland is sitting in this region here, and we can actually use the nose and sinuses as a corridor to access this base of the skull. There are no cuts to the face and it allows us to get excellent visualization of this area in the base of the skull. We use instruments such as these called the endoscope which allows us to visualize and see these areas. And so the otolaryngologist really helps access this area, helps provide visualization and approach to access the tumour, and together with the neurosurgeon, and then proceed to open up the base of the skull, access the pituitary tumour and then remove it following the surgery.

So if you think of the ear nose and throat surgeon, either myself or Dr. Jennifer Anderson as navigating the boat to the dock. And so we will navigate the boat through the nose, and then through the sinuses, to the dock, and then Dr. Cusimano is there to unload the passengers and together, we can remove the ship out from there through the nose and sinuses.


Page last updated: June 3, 2016