Director, Center for Skull Base Surgery
A pituitary adenoma is a benign growth in the pituitary. They are actually quite common. Some studies show that one in every five people might have one of these tumors. They are essentially always benign, but they can cause everything from no problems to problems with extra hormone to loss of hormones function or even vision loss.
Pituitary adenomas are treated either with surgery or, in some rare cases, with medication alone. If tumors are very small, they can just be watched to make sure they are not growing, but most tumors that cause any problems with vision or hormone function need to be removed with surgery.
At UPMC, essentially all pituitary tumors that require surgery are done endonasally with an endoscope. This endoscopic endonasal approach uses both nostrils, open up the sinuses directly onto the tumor and then the tumor, even very large tumors, can be removed completely through the nose.
At UPMC, we have a multidisciplinary pituitary center that consists of endocrinologists, neuroophthalmologists, and neurosurgeons, all of whom are experts in working on pituitary tumors. So patients will have a full workup for their hormone status, their vision, and also other issues related to their surgery.
After surgery, most patients spend one to two days in the hospital. As long as their hormone function is unaffected, they can leave the hospital after that time and even be back at work within three to four weeks.
We’ve done endoscopic endonasal approaches at UPMC for over a decade. We have a wide experience with both adults and children for taking care of these sometimes very complicated tumors. This experience and the multidisciplinary team are the things that make the biggest difference for treatment of these tumors.
For more information, contact us at (412) 647-3685, or visit the Cranial Base Center at the University of Pittsburgh.