Treatments

The treatment depends on the type of pituitary tumor, endocrine function and results of the neurological examination. Medication works successfully for the majority of prolactin producing tumors. Certain medications block the pituitary from producing too much hormone.

When medical treatment is not effective, surgery, radiation therapy, hormone–replacement therapy or a combination of treatment modalities may be necessary. The primary and most common treatment for tumors is surgical removal of the tumor with the goal of complete tumor removal. Radiation therapy is usually reserved for patients who cannot undergo surgery or when there is a need to treat residual tumor after surgery. Using high doses of x-rays to kill tumor cells and control tumor growth, radiation therapy is given daily for a number of weeks. Radiosurgery, a single dose of radiation, is also used to control the growth of pituitary adenomas. Even after a tumor is treated, follow-up is important because a small percentage recur.

Unique Brain Tumor Surgery through the Nose

The two main surgical techniques for removing pituitary tumors are transnasal transphenoidal adenomectomy and transcranial adenomectomy. The transnasal transphenoidal is the preferred surgical management for the majority of pituitary tumors. The tumor is removed via the nose and sinuses with no external incision. If the tumor has invaded nearby nerves, brain tissue and/or surrounding structures, or if it is large, removal by transphenoidal may prove difficult. Thus, the neurosurgeon may choose to perform a transcranial hypophysectomy in which the more complicated tumor is removed through the upper part of the skull by way of an incision in the patient's scalp. At times, a combination of surgical approaches is employed.