For three years, a host of doctors were unable to diagnose Manju Talwar’s medical problem. The 24-year-old schoolteacher complained of abnormal lactation, irregular menstrual cycles and was unable to conceive.
All symptoms suggested a possible gynaecological problem but despite heavy medication, Talwar’s condition did not improve. However, early this year, a MRI scan revealed a tumor in her pituitary gland.
The pea-sized gland situated at the base of the brain controls growth, metabolism and reproductive functions among others.
In Talwar’s case, the tumour was pressing her optic nerve, which could lead to blindness. She was advised immediate surgery.
“Talwar’s was not an easy surgery as while removing the tumor we had to ensure that the gland is preserved as she is in the child bearing age,” said Dr Deepu Banerji, a neurosurgeon at Wockhartd Hospital.
Banerji, who operated on Talwar over three months, opted for a relatively new endoscopic trans-nasal technique for the delicate operation. This involved insertion of an endoscope through the nasal cavity.
Banerjee claimed that so far in Mumbai most doctors have been using microscopic trans-septal technique, which involves a microscope inserted through the nasal cavity. This, he claimed, has led to post-operative complications like numbness around nose and lips, nasal deformity or pain and incomplete removal of the tumour.
In the new technique, an endoscope provides good view of the tumour to the doctor. Also, it makes it easier to differentiate between the tumor and the gland – leading to greater chances of complete tumor removal and preserving hormonal functions.
Talwar said she has so far not complained of any post-operative complications.