Why Choose Ochsner for Pituitary Disorders?

If you are looking for care for a pituitary tumor or disorder, you can rely on Ochsner’s experienced team of specialists. We have a complete, multidisciplinary team of experts who offer a full range of treatment modalities: including surgery, medical management, Gamma Stereotactic Radiosurgery, radiation therapy and highly experienced anatomical pathology support.

Multi-Disciplinary Center for Pituitary Disorders

Ochsner has the only multidisciplinary center for the care of Pituitary Disorders in the Gulf South. Our Center is designed to provide comprehensive care to all patients with newly diagnosed and preexisting pituitary disorders. Our program is built upon a strong foundation of recognized excellence in neurosurgical and neuroendocrine care and research.

About the Pituitary Gland

The pituitary gland, a bean-shaped organ located just behind the bridge of the nose is sometimes called the "master" gland of the endocrine system, because it controls the functions of many of the other endocrine glands. These include the thyroid, adrenals, testes and ovaries. The pituitary gland releases hormones (messages) into the blood stream which, in turn, prompt other organs to release their hormones into the bloodstream, providing feedback to the brain and pituitary. This "Master Gland" role makes the pituitary gland quite important, despite its small size.

Nearly a quarter of the world's adult population develops pituitary tumors in their lifetimes (20-25%), though only a small fraction of patients are diagnosed with "clinically significant" tumors. Tumors in the pituitary gland can make excess hormone or prevent the pituitary gland from making the hormones it is supposed to make. Secreting tumors most frequently occur in younger adults while non-secreting tumors tend to occur in the older population.

A hormonally-active disorder of the pituitary may cause:

  • Cushing’s syndrome
  • Excessive growth (acromegaly)
  • Lack of menstrual periods (amenorrhea)
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Infertility
  • Breast secretions (galactorrhea)
  • Hypo- or hyper-active thyroid (metabolism, appetite, heart rate)
  • Many other disorders of the central nervous and endocrine systems

These disorders can significantly compromise quality of life or even be life-threatening.

As a space-occupying lesion, larger pituitary tumors can also cause visual disturbances because the gland is close to the optic nerves.

Conditions Treated

Non-tumor diseases of the pituitary gland include dysfunction from previous radiation or surgery, infiltrative diseases (hypophysitis, Sarcoidosis, Langerhans cell histiocytosis), infections, Sheehan’s Syndrome, and empty sella.

Almost all pituitary tumors are benign (noncancerous) glandular tumors called pituitary adenomas. These tumors are considered benign because they do not spread to other parts of the body, like cancers can do. Still, even benign pituitary tumors can cause significant health problems because of their location near the brain and because many of them secrete excess hormones. Pituitary cancers (called pituitary carcinomas) are very rare.

Symptoms We Treat Include:

  • Erectile dysfunction related to pituitary disorders
  • Infertility related to pituitary disorders
  • Pituitary adenomas: These can be described by size: small (microadenoma) or large (macroadenoma or whether they are functioning or non-functioning
  • Cushing’s disease- excess cortisol (steroid) prodution
  • Rathke’s cleft cysts
  • Prolactinoma
  • Craniopharyngioma
  • Other suprasellar brain tumors
  • Acromegaly- excess growth hormone
  • Pituitary apoplexy
  • Pituitary carcinomas
  • Visual and/or endocrinologic impairment

Treatment Options

Ochsner has a variety of surgical and non-surgical treatment options to meet each patient’s needs. In addition to diagnosis, on-going monitoring, and medication management, we offer several innovative treatments.

Transsphenoidal Surgery

The standard surgical approach for pituitary tumor removal is Transsphenoidal Hypophysectomy. Extremely small instruments and endoscopes are used to remove the pituitary tumor through the nose. Recovery is fairly rapid with most patients returning to work in 3-4 weeks.

Radiosurgery

While surgery is generally the primary treatment modality for tumors requiring removal, Stereotactic Radiosurgery is often utilized as an adjunct therapy for residual or recurrent pituitary tumors.

Gamma Stereotactic Radiosurgery

We offer Gamma Stereotactic Radiosurgery in our arsenal of modalities. While rarely chosen as a first-line treatment, radiosurgery is ideal for residual tumor that was unreachable surgically.

Medical Management

Some secreting tumors do not require surgical intervention and respond successfully to medication alone. Medication is also used to manage the excess hormones made by tumors which cannot be completely removed with surgery. We tailor medical management to the individual and monitor the therapy’s success using serial labwork and imaging.

We have assembled a team of dynamic physicians, all recognized experts and current leaders in their respective fields, who have considerable experience in the evaluation and management of patients with diseases of the pituitary gland and hypothalamus.

Our care team of doctors and nurses across Ochsner includes specialists in:

  • Neurosurgery
  • Endocrinology
  • Neuro-Ophthalmology
  • Radiation Therapy
  • Pathology

Meet Our Team:

Location

Ochsner Pituitary Disorders Program
Benson Cancer Center, 3rd floor
1514 Jefferson Hwy,
Jefferson, LA 70121

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