Pituitary Tumor Program
Setting the Standard in Treatment and Innovation
About Pituitary Tumors
Pituitary tumors are abnormal growths in the pituitary gland. This gland is the master control center for the body’s hormones. It controls 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. It sits alongside important structures like the optic nerves, the carotid arteries, and the cavernous sinuses. 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.
Treatment and Surgery
Some pituitary tumors can be controlled or even shrunken with medication alone. Others may be treated with special computer-guided forms of radiation. However, many require surgery to remove the tumor and reduce the threat of damage to normal structures and functions. Surgery is also used to make medical treatment more effective.
The SENTA Approach
At SENTA Clinic we treat the patient, not the disease. For pituitary tumors, this means a complete evaluation of hormone function and vision. When medical treatment or observation is recommended, we combine these methods of treatment with a plan for ongoing monitoring including hormone tests and images such as MRI scans. If surgery is needed, SENTA offers a wide variety of options to ensure the best and safest outcome for the patient. These options include open surgery, endoscopic surgery, and several forms of computer-guided radiation. We work with a specialized team comprised of 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 which are the air pockets that normally surround the nose and lie behind the face. There are several approaches, when surgery is required, that allow safe access to remove the tumor without visible scarring and with minimal discomfort. 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. 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.