The pituitary gland is a small, pea-sized organ in the brain, behind the back of the nose. Though tiny, its function is large. It is considered the “master gland” because it produces many essential hormones that affect other glands in the body.
Most pituitary tumors are noncancerous (benign). Because many do not cause symptoms or affect health, pituitary tumors often go undiagnosed. Or, they may be found incidentally during brain imaging studies for some other condition. Pituitary tumors generally are grouped into three categories:
If a pituitary tumor is pressing against the optic nerve or other important structures, a variety of symptoms may arise:
If a pituitary tumor damages the gland, causing it to decrease making one or more hormones, related symptoms may occur:
Some pituitary tumors cause the gland to overproduce hormones, which may cause these disorders:
If a pituitary tumor is suspected, diagnosis is determined through a health history and physical, possibly an eye exam, neurological examination (of how brain, spinal cord, and nerves are functioning), blood and urine tests for hormone levels, and imaging such as CT and/or MRI.
Our Pituitary and Neuroendocrine Center at Brigham and Women’s Hospital offers comprehensive, multidisciplinary diagnosis and treatment for all types of pituitary tumors. We will work closely with you and your family to develop a treatment plan suited to your situation. Treatments may include:
To schedule an appointment with a physician in the Pituitary and Neuroendocrine Center, please contact our Patient Coordinator at: (617) 732-6600. We see new patients with a pituitary tumor diagnosis as soon as the next business day.
If you are a physician seeking to refer a patient to the Pituitary and Neuroendocrine Center, please call (617) 732-6600 or you can access our physicians’ office phone numbers. To contact one of our physicians with a question, patient referral or second opinion, you may also email: BWHNeurosurgery@partners.org.
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