Dr. Julian Bailes speaks about tumors in the pituitary gland "the body's master gland".
Pituitary tumors affect one in five people. Among the most common of skull-based tumors, pituitary tumors are often benign and grow slowly. Though they are frequently not a problem, these growths (or adenomas) can become a concern when they grow to the point of compressing critical structures in the brain—which can impair function.
The NorthShore Neurological Institute’s multidisciplinary specialists are nationally renowned in the medical and surgical treatment of these tumors. Our board-certified neurologists and neurosurgeons are among the most experienced in the country, providing expert diagnosis and innovative treatment options to patients with pituitary and other intracranial tumors such as gliomas, meningiomas and schwannomas.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Symptoms such as headaches, blurred or double vision, or growth problems due to the over or under secretion of hormones can indicate the presence of a pituitary tumor. Our qualified specialists perform thorough physical examinations, including vision and hormone testing. They also employ advanced imaging tests such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to accurately diagnose and develop appropriate treatment plans.
Our pituitary tumor experts closely collaborate with colleagues from the Neurological Institute’s Brain and Spine Tumor Program. They can easily call upon the program’s highly specialized knowledge of neuro-oncologists (subspecialist neurologists and neurosurgeons), neuroradiologists, physiatrists and radiation oncologists, depending on each patient’s unique situation.
Most patients with pituitary tumors only require surveillance of the tumor’s growth and are followed by our capable experts. Some may benefit from medications or radiation therapy, including advance stereotactic radiosurgery, to shrink their tumors. Endoscopic surgery to remove the tumor is another option, especially if the tumor puts pressure on the optic nerves. This critical situation can lead to gradual vision loss, usually beginning with peripheral vision.
The Neurological Institute’s neurosurgeons have led in the use of minimally-invasive endoscopic surgery for the removal of pituitary and other skull-based tumors. NorthShore features one of the most experienced neurosurgery teams in the country trained in this leading-edge procedure, which is performed under general anesthesia and leaves no visible incision.
Known as the transsphenoidal approach, this straightforward surgery involves inserting a small operating telescope through the nose to access the tumor at the base of the skull where the pituitary gland is located. Using long and very small surgical instruments, our experienced neurosurgical team can simply extract the tumor through the nose. The procedure typically takes two to three hours, and most patients stay in the hospital for two to three days.
For More Information
Please call 877.570.7020 for more information or to schedule an appointment with one of our specialists.