Focus on Excellence:Pituitary Tumor Surgery

Kris Moe, M.D.
Kris Moe and his colleagues lead the field in endoscopic pituitary surgery.

In addition to ground-breaking work in developing TONES (transorbital neuroendoscopic surgery), Kris S. Moe, M.D. ’89, Res. ’91, ’94, UW associate professor in the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery and chief of the Division of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, and his colleagues also have broken new ground in the realm of endoscopic pituitary surgery — another subset of minimally invasive brain surgery.

The UW Medicine Neurosciences Institute’s pituitary program clinic, with surgical leader Manuel Ferreira, M.D., Ph.D., Fel. ’10, UW assistant professor in the Department of Neurological Surgery and co-director of Skull-base and Minimally Invasive Neurosurgery at Harborview Medical Center, provides comprehensive care with a multi-disciplinary team of specialists — including neurosurgeons, endocrinologists, neuro-ophthalmologists, radiologists, pathologists, otolaryngologists, radiation oncologists, nurses and patient-care coordinators — trained to treat complex pituitary tumors.

“The program allows us to consolidate all our pituitary tumor surgeries at Harborview, which leads to better outcomes,” explains Anthony M. Avellino, M.D., Res. ’00, FACS, MBA, director of the UW Medicine Neurosciences Institute. The location of a specialized clinic within Harborview means that patients can have “one-stop” appointments for evaluation and treatment of both emergent and acute-care needs, as well as access to leading-edge technologies. The system is also more cost-efficient.

In fact, in June, 2010, Harborview upgraded to the Gamma Knife Perfexion radiosurgery system — a state-of-the-art technology for highly precise radiation therapy. The Perfexion system allows treatment of a wide range of targets faster and more efficiently than ever before. The clinic also provides a combination of intraoperative CT scans and preoperative MRI during surgical procedures, enabling better localization of the tumor anatomy and improved patient outcomes.

“The endoscopic procedures UW Medicine pituitary specialists perform are safer, less painful, cause less tissue damage and have a shorter recovery time than traditional surgeries,” says Avellino.

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