Minimally Invasive Technique Eradicates Recurring Pituitary Abscess

In this intraoperative video, watch UCSF neurosurgeons Ezequiel Goldschmidt, MD, PhD, and Peter Sun, MD with Patricia Loftus, MD, from the Otolaryngology Department surgically evacuate a sellar abscess of the pituitary gland in a pediatric patient. The 9-year-old presented with meningitis and vision problems and was found to have recurrent pituitary abscess despite two prior operations and a prolonged course of antibiotics.

Often called the “master gland” and located at the base of the brain, the pea-sized pituitary gland controls the other glands in the endocrine system. A pituitary abscess is a rare disorder where pus builds up inside the gland. In children, pituitary dysfunction can halt normal growth and affect puberty. 

Using an endoscopic endonasal infrasellar approach, a minimally invasive technique that allows the surgical team to operate through the nose, the surgeons were able to fully evacuate the abscess. Then they used a piece of the nose lining, called nasal mucosa, to connect the nasal cavity to prevent the abscess from reoccurring. Following the operation, the patient had no visual complaints and was taken off antibiotics eight weeks later.

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Ezequiel Goldschmidt, MD, PhD.

Ezequiel Goldschmidt, MD, PhD


Dr. Ezequiel Goldschmidt, who goes by Eze, is a neurosurgeon who cares for patients with brain, skull base and pituitary gland tumors. He has particular expertise in using minimally invasive approaches. In research, Goldschmidt seeks ...

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Peter Sun, MD.

Peter Sun, MD

Division Chief, Neurosurgery

Peter Sun, MD, is a leader in the field of pediatric neurosurgery. He can discuss disorders of the central nervous system and surgical treatment. The most commonly treated conditions include brain tumors, trauma, spinal abnormalities, ...

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Patricia Loftus, MD.

Patricia Loftus, MD

Rhinologist and skull base surgeon

Dr. Patricia Loftus is an otolaryngologist – head and neck surgeon, a specialist in treating disorders of the ear, nose and throat. Her expertise encompasses nasal and sinus surgery, endoscopic skull base surgery and general otolaryngology. ...

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