Pituitary tumors are abnormal growths that form in the pituitary gland, the part of the brain that makes and controls hormones. The pituitary gland is a small endocrine gland located at the base of the brain that helps control the release of hormones from other endocrine glands, such as the adrenal and thyroid glands. It also releases hormones that affect body tissues such as bones and breast milk glands. A pituitary tumor can seriously affect the gland’s ability to function correctly, causing other medical conditions.
There are three main types of pituitary tumors: benign, invasive adenoma (benign tumors that spread to the bones), and carcinoma, or cancerous. Most pituitary tumors are noncancerous growths, or adenomas, which stay in the gland or surrounding tissues and do not spread. Some pituitary tumors can cause excessive production of hormones, and others can restrict normal function of the gland, making it produce lower levels of hormones. Doctors may remove the tumor, control its growth with medication, or observe the tumor for a period of time before determining if treatment is needed. Doctors do not know what causes pituitary tumors, but some are linked to a hereditary disorder.
The UAB Pituitary Disorders Clinic is the only multidisciplinary clinic in the state. It provides comprehensive evaluation and treatment for patients with pituitary tumors, pituitary hormone abnormalities, growth and development problems, and related disorders. The clinic brings together UAB experts in the fields of neurosurgery, endocrinology, ear, nose, and throat surgery, radiation oncology, neuro-ophthalmology, neuropathology, diagnostic and interventional neuroradiology, and others. Our specialists collaborate to create treatment plans specific to every patient’s unique needs. The most novel and effective treatments available are delivered by our nationally recognized faculty physicians.
UAB has extensive experience and is among the nation’s leaders for the number of surgical cases we treat. For several years, UAB has offered minimally invasive endoscopic approaches for pituitary tumors, allowing many patients to avoid more intrusive surgeries.
UAB is committed to improving the field of pituitary tumor care by conducting research in pituitary disorders and providing residency and continuing education for up-and-coming pituitary and neuroendocrine specialists.
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