Your pituitary gland is a very small bean-shaped organ located at the base of the brain, just behind the sphenoid sinus in the back of the nasal cavity. Despite its tiny size, this gland is sometimes called the master gland because it is responsible for regulating most of the hormones in the body.1 Tumors of the pituitary gland are fairly common, with about 10,000 diagnosed in the U.S. each year, but fortunately the vast majority of these are benign (non-cancerous)2. Benign pituitary tumors can still cause health complications and it is important to seek treatment from an experienced specialist.
TREATMENT OF PITUITARY TUMORS IN HOUSTON
If you are seeking diagnosis or treatment for a pituitary tumor in Houston, Texas, Dr. Arjuna Kuperan at Houston Advanced Nose and Sinus can help. Dr. Kuperan is a board-certified Otolaryngologist (ENT) and a fellowship trained Rhinologist with the skill and experience to treat complex nose and sinus conditions such as pituitary tumors. He uses advanced diagnostic tools and offers a range of minimally invasive treatments and procedures.
UNDERSTANDING PITUITARY TUMOR
Most pituitary tumors are benign adenomas. While this type of tumor is not cancerous and will not spread to other parts of the body, it can interfere with vision and cause headaches. Some types of benign pituitary tumors can also disrupt hormone function and may present with galactorrhea or other symptoms of hyperthyroidism, acromegaly, and Cushing syndrome. Pituitary tumors should be treated as soon as possible because they can cause permanent vision loss or damage to the body from abnormal hormone levels if left untreated.
SYMPTOMS OF A PITUITARY TUMOR
Concerning symptoms associated with pituitary tumors include:
- Gradual new onset loss of peripheral field vision
- Double vision
- Severe new onset headaches
Additionally, some pituitary tumors cause changes in hormones that can cause hyperthyroidism, acromegaly, or Cushing syndrome. Symptoms that could be caused by a hormonal deficiency or irregularity include:
- Changes in menstrual periods
- Unexplained weight loss or gain
- Sexual dysfunction
- Fat accumulation on the abdomen and upper back
- High blood pressure
- Joint pain
DIAGNOSING AND TREATING PITUITARY TUMORS
If you have symptoms that may indicate a pituitary tumor, it is critical to see an experienced physician for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. At Houston Advanced Nose & Sinus, Dr. Kuperan may use a variety of methods for diagnosis, such as hormone level testing and visual field tests. He will also use a nasal endoscopy, which is a very small camera inserted into the nose, to see if there is a tumor in the sinus area. An MRI may be performed to determine the size of the tumor and see if it may be pressing on the optic nerve or other structures.
If Dr. Kuperan determines that it would be beneficial to remove the tumor, he can perform a transnasal endoscopic pituitary tumor resection, a procedure that is done in conjunction with a skilled Neurosurgeon. This minimally invasive surgery does not leave any visible scars. Depending on your individual symptoms, you may also be referred to an endocrinologist or other specialist for coordinated treatment.
1 American Association of Neurological Surgeons. Pituitary gland and pituitary tumors. Available: https://www.aans.org/en/Patients/Neurosurgical-Conditions-and-Treatments/Pituitary-Gland-and-Pituitary-Tumors Accessed January 26, 2020.
2 American Cancer Society. Key Statistics About Pituitary Tumors. Available: https://www.cancer.org/cancer/pituitary-tumors/about/key-statistics.html# Accessed January 26, 2020.
Dr. Arjuna Kuerpan has either authored or reviewed and approved this content.