Pituitary tumors are abnormal growths in the pituitary gland. This gland is the master control center for the body’s hormones, controlling many functions including metabolism, growth, response to stress, sexual function, and body chemistry. These abnormal growths are usually benign, and not cancerous. However, they can cause damage to or interfere with the normal function of any of the normal duties of the pituitary gland. The pituitary gland is situated in a special pocket at the base of the skull alongside such important structures as the optic nerves, which control vision, the carotid arteries, which supply blood to the brain, and the cavernous sinuses, large veins which also contain nerves that move and give sensation to the face. A large or growing tumor in the pituitary gland, or one which suddenly enlarges due to bleeding (an event known as pituitary apoplexy) can threaten any of these important structures.
Some pituitary tumors can be controlled or even shrunken with medication alone. Others may be treated with special computer guided forms of radiation. Many, however, require surgery to remove the tumor and reduce the threat of damage to normal structures and functions, or to make medical treatment more effective.
At SENTA we treat the patient, and not the disease. For pituitary tumors, this means a complete evaluation of hormone function and vision. When medical treatment or observation alone are options, these are combined with a plan for ongoing monitoring with hormone tests and images such as MRI scans. When surgery is recommended, SENTA offers a wide variety of options to ensure the best and safest outcome for the patient, including open surgery, endoscopic surgery, and several forms of computer guided radiation. We work with a specialized team that includes neurosurgeons, head and neck surgeons, endocrinologists, and neuro-ophthalmologists.
The pituitary gland is located in a pocket of bone at the base of the skull called the sella turcica. This lies directly behind the nose and the paranasal sinuses, the air pockets that normally surround the nose and lie behind the face. Because of this anatomy there are several approaches, when surgery is required, that allow safe access to remove the tumor without visible scarring and with minimal discomfort. Such surgery can be performed through a patient’s nose, or under the upper lip, and may include the use of microscopes and endoscopes. Our SENTA team combines the expertise of neurosurgeons and ENT/head and neck surgeons to perform this specialized surgery. For certain patients, the best option may be the use of focused, computer guided radiation beams to stop the growth of the tumor. After surgery, regardless of the form used, patients require careful monitoring and adjustment of their hormone function until they have healed completely. Followup imaging and hormone studies are very important, as all tumors, even benign ones, have the potential to regrow.
Dr Jeffrey Schweitzer is a board certified neurosurgeon with extensive experience in pituitary surgery, having performed many hundreds of such operations over the last 25 years. Trained at Harvard and UCLA, and Yale, Dr Schweitzer was the principal pituitary surgeon for the program at Kaiser in Los Angeles before coming to San Diego.
Dr Perry Mansfield is a board certified otolaryngologist who is a leader in minimally invasive procedures such as endonasal removal of skull base tumors. He has been the chief moderator of several thousand complex Head and Neck cases over the past two decades.
If you are experiencing symptoms, have been diagnosed with a pituitary tumor, or are in need of a second opinion, explore treatment options with one of our top rated physicians. Please call us at (619) 810-1000.
SENTA Clinic is comprised of a group of of experienced, board-certified physicians and health care professionals who are the best in their field and focus on conditions of the head and neck.
Whether you're looking for a neurosurgeon, otolaryngologist, neurologist, plastic surgeon, audiologist or allergist, you're in the right place.
3590 Camino Del Rio North
San Diego, CA 92108
Phone: (619) 810-1000