A pituitary tumor is an abnormal growth that develops in your pituitary gland, a pea-sized glad at the base of your brain that is responsible for growth, development, and the regulation of other endocrine glands and systems. Most pituitary tumors are benign or noncancerous, meaning that they stay confined to the pituitary without spreading to the rest of the body. The primary problem caused by a pituitary tumor is the over- or underproduction of hormones, in addition to symptoms such as headaches, unintended weight loss or gain, increased frequency and volume of urination, decreased visual acuity or peripheral vision, and body hair loss. Some pituitary tumors are what’s known as “functioning” tumors, meaning they produce specific hormones in addition to pituitary function.
Diagnostic methods can include blood testing to see if you are over- or under-producing specific hormones, a CT scan or MRI to determine the size and location of a potential tumor, and vision testing to see if a tumor is causing impaired vision.
Surgical solutions for a pituitary tumor usually include an endoscopic transnasal transsphenoidal approach, which allows us to easily remove the tumor through your nose and sinuses, or transcranial approach, which allows us to remove the tumor through the upper part of your skull by way of an incision in your scalp. A transcranial approach is far easier for larger, more difficult to reach tumors.