Pituitary Tumors

Pituitary Tumors 2017-12-07T18:51:39+00:00

Dr. Bovis is one of the few neurosurgeons in the Chicago area specializing in the treatment of pituitary tumors. Pituitary tumors, which arise from the pituitary gland, can produce a multitude of confusing and non-specific symptoms. Many pituitary tumors go undiagnosed or are misdiagnosed. Some estimates reflect that up to 20% of the U.S. population has a pituitary tumor.

The pituitary gland is located at the base of the brain behind the nose and between the eyes. It is also between the two carotid arteries, the main blood flow route to the brain. The diagnosis and management of pituitary tumors (pituitary adenomas) is complicated by the many types and sizes of the tumor.

Most pituitary tumors are benign, slow-growing, and hormonally non-functioning (non-secreting). Pituitary tumors usually present with symptoms caused by pressure on the optic nerves, which may result in loss of peripheral vision, deficits in visual acuity, and headaches. The pituitary tumors causing these symptoms tend to be larger tumors, called macroadenomas.

On the other hand, the minority of pituitary tumors are small (microadenomas) and hormonally active, called secreting tumors.

Common secretory pituitary tumors include:

  • Prolactinomas
  • Growth Hormone-Secreting adenomas/acromegaly/gigantism
  • Corticotropin (ACTH)-secreting adenomas /Cushing’s Disease
  • Thyrotropin (TSH) secreting adenomas
  • Gonadotropin-secreting adenomas

Neurosurgeons, like Dr. Bovis, who specialize in the treatment of pituitary tumors, have a thorough understanding of the specific impact that hormones have on a patient’s personality, sex drive, physical appearance, fertility and overall health. It’s a complex diagnosis. It’s not uncommon for a patient to be seen by a large number of specialists and undergo several different treatments before receiving the correct diagnosis.

Dr. Bovis believes in a team approach to the diagnosis and management of pituitary tumors. He always involves and consults with an endocrinologist and neuropathologist before proceeding with a treatment plan, tailor-made for each patient.

Getting the correct diagnosis, including the specific type of pituitary tumor, is critical to recovery. With some secreting pituitary tumors (prolactinomas, for example) surgery is not considered the best option. Rather, drug therapy is highly successful at regulating the excess hormone, shrinking the tumor and eliminating symptoms. With other types, like in the case of growth hormone secreting pituitary tumors, minimally-invasive microsurgery is considered one of the gold standard treatment options. Dr. Bovis frequently incorporates Gamma Knife radiosurgery into a comprehensive treatment plan to aggressively treat pituitary tumors.

Surgery should be reserved for a highly experienced neurosurgeon, like Dr. Bovis, who frequently performs pituitary tumor resection. He also collaborates with an ear, nose and throat specialist to ensure the safest and most direct approach to the tumor. Dr. Bovis is among a small handful of leading neurosurgeons accomplished with the endoscopic treatment of pituitary tumors, cleverly using the nostrils as the pathway to the tumor and sparing the patient a potentially painful incision. Specialized instruments and cameras are used to remove the tumor and work within the small orifices of the nose.

Dr. Bovis also uses advanced imaging and navigation technologies in the operating room suite to facilitate a safe and successful surgery.

The importance of experience in treating pituitary tumors can not be overstated. Recent studies suggest that higher-volume surgeons and hospitals, like Dr. Bovis at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital, provide superior outcomes after transsphenoidal pituitary tumor surgery. Lengths of stay are shortened. Patients choosing low-volume neurosurgeons who performed pituitary tumor resections at low-volume hospitals are more likely to be discharged to locations other than home. Higher volumes are also associated with lower rates of complications.

Dr. Bovis performs surgery to treat pituitary tumors at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital and Alexian Brothers Medical Center. He also welcomes questions about pituitary tumors. Prospective patients are welcome to call (847) 698-1088 to schedule an appointment.