Background: Guidelines for patient behavior following transsphenoidal surgery do not exist. To gain generally recommendations, the German pituitary working group conducted a study among pituitary surgeons to elucidate their opinions and customs of patients' counselling.
Methods: Questions concerning daily activities, exertion of sports and work life were addressed. It was asked to provide the postoperative time interval after which specific activities can be resumed both after a routine or an extended approach.
Results: Fourteen pituitary surgeons returned the completed questionnaire. Following routine operations, washing the hair was allowed within one week, blowing the nose after 3, flying on an airplane and driving a car after one, lifting heavy weights after 4, playing wind instruments after 6, use of CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) device after 3, permit leisure sports after 2 to 4 weeks (except for scuba diving). Competitive sports can be resumed after 6 weeks. Occupation with mental demands was considered feasible after 2 weeks, with physical labor after 4 weeks. After extended transsphenoidal surgery, the recommended time interval was roughly twice as long compared to the routine approach. Driving a car was allowed within the first 4 weeks after surgery by some pituitary surgeons, while others allow driving only after 3 months analogous to the regulations after craniotomy. The risk of scuba diving was considered high.
Conclusions: The data of our study and the literature, and expert opinions from related scientific fields resulted in a consensus on recommendations for patients' conduct to minimize risks after transsphenoidal surgery.