Pituitary Tumors

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Pituitary tumors, also known as pituitary adenomas, form in an area behind the nose near the base of the brain. They’re noncancerous, small and typically slow growing. In some people, they cause symptoms like headaches, blurry or loss of vision, and tiredness that impact daily life.

At Nuvance Health®, you receive exceptional treatment, including sophisticated procedures that are gentler on your body. You also have access to additional specialists with experience treating pituitary tumors. This level of care is not widely available in New York’s Hudson Valley and Western Connecticut.

Pituitary Adenoma Care at Nuvance Health: Why Choose Us?

You receive services from a skilled team that offers medical treatments and pituitary tumor surgery. Our combined experience leads to appropriate care for common and complex cases. Highlights of our program include:

  • Trusted specialists:
    Nuvance Health is home to neurosurgeons who completed advanced training in skull base surgery. This knowledge enables them to safely navigate delicate structures at the bottom of the skull. This region includes the pituitary gland, spinal cord and tiny blood vessels.
  • Team approach:
    Skull base surgeons work alongside other specialists, including ear, nose and throat (ENT) doctors, endocrinologists and eye doctors (ophthalmologists). We are in regular communication, coordinating your care so you can focus on feeling better. 
  • Transsphenoidal surgery:
    We use less-invasive techniques to take out pituitary tumors. Instead of removing a part of your skull (craniotomy), surgeons slide a long thin tube (endoscope) through the nostril. Advancing the endoscope past an opening at the back of the nose enables us to access the tumor with less disruption to healthy tissue. 
  • Personalized care:
    The team discusses your case to determine the therapies that are right for you. For small, nonfunctioning pituitary adenomas, we may recommend regular monitoring. If the pituitary tumor is causing symptoms, medications or surgery may be necessary. 
Elderly woman kissing a girl

What is a Pituitary Tumor?

This type of tumor comes from abnormal cell growth in the pituitary gland. A pituitary tumor is not likely to spread to other areas of the body. Your pituitary gland produces hormones regulating growth, metabolism and sexual function.

There are two types of pituitary tumors:

  • Functioning
    , which produce excess hormones
  • Nonfunctioning, which do not affect hormone production

Pituitary Adenoma Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

  • Pituitary Adenoma Symptoms

    Pituitary tumors are often so small they do not cause symptoms. If they press on nearby nerves or are functioning, you may experience:

    • Acromegaly, unexpected limb growth or thickening of the skull and jaw
    • Breast milk production in people who are not breastfeeding
    • Eye problems, including double vision and side (peripheral) vision loss
    • Headaches
    • Menstrual cycle changes
    • Tiredness
    • Unexplained weight loss or weight gain
  • Diagnosing Pituitary Adenomas
    An MRI is necessary to confirm a pituitary adenoma diagnosis. This study uses a powerful magnetic field and radio waves to capture digital images of the pituitary gland and nearby structures.

    Nuvance Health performs detailed scans that enable us to thoroughly assess the pituitary gland for signs of a tumor. Brain imaging specialists (neuroradiologists) with additional training in brain tumors review images leading to an accurate diagnosis.
  • Pituitary Tumor Surgery and Medical Therapy
    When surgery is necessary, we typically use the transsphenoidal approach. The ENT passes an endoscope through the nostril past an opening at the back of the nose. The skull base surgeon then takes over, using tiny instruments to access and remove the tumor. After the procedure, you can expect to stay in the hospital for a few days. 

    Medical therapy is for certain pituitary adenomas, including ones that cause unexpected breast milk production (prolactinoma). You may also benefit from medications if there is a complex tumor or it comes back after surgery. Endocrinologists manage your care so you receive the right drug and dose for your needs.