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UT Southwestern Medical Center’s Comprehensive Skull Base Program provides exceptional treatment for rare and complex skull base disorders such as pituitary adenoma, combining a multidisciplinary approach with the latest techniques and technology. 

Patients with pituitary adenoma have access to UT Southwestern’s world-class neurological surgery center, a state-of-the-art neuro intensive care unit, and coordinated post-surgical recovery services.

Excellence in Minimally Invasive Brain Treatments

Pituitary adenomas are benign (noncancerous) tumors that grow on the pituitary gland. Considered the master gland, the pituitary is about the size of a pea and sits at the base of the brain. It regulates the secretion of important hormones throughout the body.

Pituitary adenomas are classified according to which hormone they are secreting. If the tumor is not secreting any hormones, it’s called a nonfunctioning adenoma. 

Specialists at UT Southwestern are experts in applying the latest in image guidance and microsurgical techniques to treat pituitary adenomas while preserving quality of life for each patient.

Symptoms of Pituitary Adenomas

Pituitary adenomas don’t always have symptoms. If they grow large enough, they can press on nearby structures and cause headaches and loss of vision. 

If the tumor puts pressure on the pituitary gland, it can cause:

  • Decreased sex drive
  • Fatigue
  • Low blood pressure
  • Symptoms of hypothyroidism
  • Weakness

If the tumor is secreting a hormone, its symptoms depend on which hormone is being secreted.

Diagnosis

Physicians usually diagnose pituitary adenomas through magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), although larger tumors can be detected with a computed tomography (CT) scan. 

These tumors can also be diagnosed by blood tests that can measure abnormal hormone levels.

Treatment for Pituitary Adenomas

Some pituitary tumors can be treated with medication or radiation. If the tumor is growing, secreting hormones, or pressing on structures, it might require surgery.

While a variety of surgical techniques can be used to treat pituitary adenomas, surgeons at UT Southwestern use minimally invasive techniques whenever possible, such as using microscopes or endoscopes to access the tumor through the nose. 

Recovery from the treatment usually is excellent. However, damage done by the tumor cannot be repaired. Hormonal deficiencies caused by the tumor cannot be reversed, so hormone supplements might be required.

Research and Clinical Trials

Patients also benefit from the leading research conducted at UT Southwestern, which often includes clinical trials offered at few other centers in the country and helps speed better treatment to patients. 

Related Conditions and Treatments

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Pituitary Adenoma Patient Information Sheet

For more detailed, technical information on these tumors, download the pituitary adenoma patient information sheet (PDF).

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