The pituitary tumor gland is a small, pea-sized organ in the brain behind the back of the nose. The pituitary gland produces hormones that affect many other glands in the body. Most pituitary tumors are noncancerous (benign). In addition, because many pituitary tumors do not cause symptoms or affect health, they are either not diagnosed or are found incidentally during routine brain imaging studies. However, because of the location of the pituitary gland, at the base of the skull, many pituitary tumors press against the optic nerves, in some cases causing serious vision problems. Pituitary tumor symptoms vary depending on what type of tumor is growing and what area of the pituitary gland is affected.
Some pituitary tumors that produce excess amounts of hormone overstimulate other endocrine glands. Pituitary tumor symptoms may then occur related to the specific overproduced hormone, causing disorders such as:
Pituitary tumor symptoms also may occur if a large pituitary tumor presses on important nerves and blood vessels in the brain. These symptoms may include:
Pituitary tumor treatment depends on the extent of the condition and the patient's age, overall health, tolerance for medications, and personal preferences. Treatment options include:
The Pituitary/Neuroendocrine Center at Brigham and Women's Hospital offers state-of-the-art treatment for patients with pituitary tumor symptoms.
The Pituitary/Neuroendocrine Center at Brigham and Women's Hospital is a multi-disciplinary clinic in Boston consisting of neurosurgery and neuroendocrinology that evaluates and treats patients with pituitary tumors and other pituitary abnormalities. These specialists work together to evaluate and provide the most effective treatment for pituitary tumor symptoms. The program is part of our Neuroendocrinology Division, which has been providing new approaches to treating patients with pituitary tumors and neuroendocrine complications of brain cancer treatment. For example, new medications that regulate hormone production while maintaining pituitary function may be an option for some patients.
For patients seeking surgical treatment for pituitary tumor symptoms, our expert Boston neurosurgeons in the Department of Neurosurgery deliver state-of-the-art treatment and care via many advanced techniques to improve outcomes for our patients. Our neurosurgery specialists also provide expert skull base surgery to treat a wide variety of cranial disorders.
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