Pituitary Tumor

Neurosurgical Specialists of West County

Neurosurgeons located in Saint Louis, MO

If you are showing signs of hormone imbalance or visual changes, it may be due to a pituitary tumor. The Neurosurgical Specialists of West County have an experienced team of experts which perform endoscopic transsphenoidal surgery to remove pituitary tumors and alleviate your symptoms. Learn more about the benefits of this minimally invasive technique by calling the office today.

Pituitary Tumor Q & A

What is a pituitary tumor?

A pituitary tumor is an abnormal growth that develops in your pituitary gland, the blueberry-sized gland at the base of your skull that regulates the endocrine system and the vital functions of your body. When functioning normally, this master gland secretes hormones which control the body’s metabolism and give you an overall sense of well-being.

Tumors in the pituitary gland interfere with your body’s hormone production, resulting in too much or too few hormones to keep your body in balance. In most cases, pituitary tumors are benign adenomas which are non-cancerous and don’t spread to other parts of your body.

There are a variety of tumors and cysts which can arise in or around the pituitary gland interfering with its function. These include craniopharyngiomas, meningiomas, chordomas, and Rathke’s and arachnoid cysts.

What are the symptoms of a pituitary tumor?

You can develop a pituitary tumor without any symptoms. However, if the tumor interferes with hormone production, you can experience a wide range of symptoms related to the specific hormone the tumor is disrupting. These symptoms may include:

  • Fatigue
  • Inappropriate discharge of breast milk
  • Diabetes
  • Feeling unusually cold or hot
  • Weakness
  • Sexual dysfunction or loss of libido
  • Changes in blood pressure
  • Irregular menstrual cycles or infertility
  • Anxiety or depression 
  • Weight gain or loss
  • Abnormal enlargement of the hands or feet
  • Frequent urination
  • Excessive thirst or hunger

In some cases, large tumors can cause headaches, nausea, memory loss,  or changes in your vision or personality.

If you are experiencing any of  these symptoms, it is important to schedule an evaluation at Neurosurgical Specialists of West County.

How is a pituitary tumor diagnosed?

If you experience symptoms that indicate a pituitary tumor, your Neurosurgical Specialists of West County provider may order blood or urine tests to measure hormone levels. You may also undergo a CT scan or MRI of your brain to identify an existing tumor.

Your doctor will then create a customized treatment plan involving a multidisciplinary approach in combination with our ophthalmologists, endocrinologists, and ear, nose, and throat (ENT) physicians.  Our comprehensive team helps you manage all aspects of your disease.

What treatments are available for a pituitary tumor? 

The treatment of these tumors depends on a number of factors, including the type and size or your tumor.  In many cases, surgery is the right treatment and the physicians at the Neurosurgical Specialists of West County have extensive experience managing and removing tumors in and around the pituitary gland.   This is typically performed endoscopically through the nasal passages without the need for external incisions. This technique is a less invasive approach called transsphenoidal surgery. For more information regarding this surgery please see our page on Endoscopic Endonasal Surgery.

Additionally some tumors may require radiation treatment. Please see our page on stereotactic radiosurgery for more information. 

Find out if you’re a candidate for pituitary tumor removal surgery by calling the office today.