That is the estimated number of pituitary tumors diagnosed every year in the United States. And although in most cases these tumors are benign, they can still cause problems—loss of vision and loss of pituitary function are just a few examples—because of their size or excessive hormone production.
The team of neurosurgeons at IGEA Brain, Spine & Orthopedics should know. We are, after all, well versed in the diagnosis and treatment of pituitary tumors. Learn more about the signs, symptoms, and treatment options available for pituitary tumors.
What Are Pituitary Tumors?
Pituitary tumors are abnormal growths that can develop in your pituitary gland, causing excessive production of certain hormones. Pituitary tumors are classified into one of two groups: secreting or non-secreting.
A secreting pituitary tumor produces an excess hormone–made of tumor cells–while non-secreting pituitary tumors do not produce hormones. Either type of tumor may cause symptoms by merely putting pressure on adjacent structures, and secreting tumors may have symptoms directly caused by excess hormones.
Signs And Symptoms of Pituitary Tumors
As aforementioned, pituitary tumors vary depending on whether a tumor produces too much of a hormone or if symptoms stem from damage or pressure caused by the tumor’s size. Tumors that produce too much of one or more hormones can cause:
- Cushing’s Syndrome: acne, bone pain, excessive hair growth in women, rounded face and upper body obesity
- Gigantism: excessive growth, headaches, and large hands and feet
- Hyperthyroidism: concentration problems, fatigue, increased appetite, and weight loss
Large pituitary tumors that put pressure on the pituitary gland and surrounding structures may trigger:
- Nasal drainage
- Vision problems
- Nausea and vomiting
- Problems smelling
If a physician suspects a pituitary tumor, he may order diagnostic imaging. These tests include computed tomography scans (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Sometimes, a patient’s pituitary tumor is discovered while undergoing these tests for another condition.
Treatment Options For Pituitary Tumors
Treatment options for pituitary tumors vary on a case-by-case basis. Your physician will make recommendations based on your condition, as well as your health factors. Understanding the various treatment options, however, will assist you as the time for treatment approaches. Learn the details of the treatment options below:
Watch and Wait: If a pituitary tumor is small and not causing symptoms, your doctor may recommend monitoring your condition for the time being. Some tumors will remain small and never require treatment. Since the tumor may grow in the future, however, it is imperative that all patients stay committed to attending check-up appointments consistently.
Medication: Medication is especially in managing symptoms that result from secreting pituitary tumors. Your doctor may recommend medication to ease symptoms before other treatment methods or to help you be more comfortable until your treatment date. Some drugs are also prescribed to shrink pituitary tumors.
Surgery: In many cases, surgery is required to remove all or part of a pituitary tumor. There are two surgical options by which doctors can operate:
- Transsphenoidal Surgery: Surgeons can navigate through the sphenoid sinus (a cavity located behind the nose) to reach and remove tumors located within the pituitary gland in your brain.
- Transcranial Surgery: This approach requires the temporary removal of a small section of the skull to provide access to the tumor. This surgical procedure is useful for large tumors.
Radiation: Radiation effectively treats pituitary tumors in a variety of ways. It may be recommended after pituitary tumor surgery to prevent regrowth of a tumor. It may also be used as the sole treatment if the tumor is inoperable, or if the tumor regrows after surgery.
Receive Quality Care For Pituitary Tumors At IGEA Brain & Spine
Individuals diagnosed with a pituitary tumor are entitled to quality care. Anything less than that isn’t—and never should be—optional. This principle guides the way by which the team at IGEA Brain, Spine & Orthopedics operates its practice, and impacts every interaction with patients and their families. Backed by a diverse range of qualifications and specialties, our board-certified team of neurosurgeons utilizes the most advanced medical equipment to diagnose and treat a variety of conditions and symptoms. With several conveniently located offices throughout the NY/NJ metropolitan region, you’re never far from high-quality, compassionate treatment options to manage your condition.
If you or a loved requires treatment for a pituitary tumor, contact us to schedule an appointment at one of our locations in New Jersey or New York. Proper treatment of your condition isn’t—and never should be—optional, and at IGEA Brain, Spine & Orthopedics, it never is.