Pituitary Gland Tumors

Pituitary Gland TumorsThere are two types of pituitary gland tumors; both occur (for unknown reasons) in front, never in the back lobe of the pituitary gland.

The first type is adenoma, benign tumor, which causes an excessive secretion of the hormone and, thus, acromegaly or gigantism, Cushing’s syndrome or galactorrhea. The tumor can press surrounding areas, causing additional disorders. Another type of tumor is so-called craniopharyngioma, malignancies that does not increase the secretion of hormones, but instead increases and presses the front flap, causing the pituitary nanosomia or hypopituitarism, or rear lobe, causing diabetes insipidus. Some craniopharyngeoma are malignant.

Tumors of both types can press (if they are large) the nerves leading to the eyes and cause headaches, squint and deterioration of vision.
The treatment of all those disease includes blood tests that measure the levels of certain hormones, X-ray of the skull, and sometimes brain computed tomography in order to determine whether the disease is caused by pituitary tumor.

Treatment

Whenever possible, a tumor of the pituitary gland is removed or destroyed with surgery and / or radiotherapy. Today, the results of such procedures are excellent.

Surgical removal of the tumor is highly sensitive process and performed with extremely tiny instruments. The surgeon typically reaches the tumor through the nostril opening through to the ridge of the nose. If the tumor is large and presses against the nerves of the eye, it may require neurosurgical intervention. After the surgery the patient is rapidly recovering, although it is always possible risk of damage (during the operation) of the pituitary gland, which is small and delicate, which could cause hypopituitarism or diabetes insipidus.

But, it is an acceptable risk, because both of these diseases can be treated with life-long substitution therapy with hormones. Rather than cut out the tumor, the surgeon can burn it, freeze it or put a small radioactive implant in it.

If the tumor has spread or if it is difficult to determine the exact location of the tumor, a radiotherapy of the entire gland will be required. Like surgery, radiation therapy can also cause damage to the rest of the gland.