Treatments for Pituitary Disorders
Medical College of Wisconsin endocrinologists, surgeons and other team members provide the most advanced treatments available for the treatment of pituitary disorders. Treatment is based on each patient’s unique needs, including such co-existing conditions as cancer or pregnancy. We discuss all options with patients as we develop the treatment plan, and we monitor treatment progress along the way in order to make any adjustments that may be needed.
Hormone Replacement and Non-surgical Treatments for TumorsHormonal therapy and/or medication aimed at restoring hormonal balance may be recommended for patients. These treatments may include pituitary hormone replacement, in which hormones are given to replace hormones not being produced by the pituitary gland. These include cortisol, thyroid hormone, vasopressin, sex hormones and growth hormone. For some patients, non-surgical treatments may be prescribed, including:
- Dopamine agonist therapy, to treat prolactin-secreting pituitary tumors and some growth-hormone-secreting pituitary tumors
- Somatostatin/octreotide therapy, for the treatment of acromegaly (excessive growth due to over-production of growth hormone by the pituitary gland)
- Pegvisomant, another medication used to treat acromegaly
Surgery for Pituitary DisordersIn some cases, surgery is the best alternative for treatment. The goal is to achieve the best treatment results while preserving gland function. Surgery may be recommended to remove hormone-producing tissue, typically in patients with acromegaly (marked by excessive growth hormone production) or Cushing’s disease. Surgery may also be used to decrease the size of a tumor or to remove non-hormone-producing tissue that may threaten surrounding structures in the future.
Endonasal Transsphenoidal Endoscopic SurgeryA highly specialized, minimally invasive pituitary surgery—endonasal transsphenoidal endoscopy—is uniquely offered in southeastern Wisconsin by neurosurgeons and specialized otolaryngologists at Froedtert & The Medical College of Wisconsin. This advanced surgical technique offers many advantages over the traditional method of removing tumors (through an incision in the mouth).
During the procedure, physicians use a sophisticated device called an endoscope, a thin, flexible tube with a light and video camera on the tip. The endoscope is placed in the nose and moved to the tumor site so physicians can see and remove or reduce tumors. The method results in minimal blood loss and reduces post-operative pain and possible complications for patients.
Other Treatment Options
Gamma Knife therapy is a procedure for delivering focused radiation therapy to select pituitary tumors (as well as other tumors and lesions in the brain).
External radiation therapy is also used to deliver radiation therapy to pituitary tumors.
Last Review Date: April 17, 2013
Online Editor(s): Shannon Krause