Brain tumors are one of the primary specialties of the Georgia Neurosurgical Institute. One of the more common types of brain tumors is a tumor that forms on the pituitary gland, called a pituitary tumor. The pituitary gland is about the size of a pea and is located below the hypothalamus in the brain. This gland controls multiple important hormones such as growth and puberty hormones, proteins like prolactin (crucial to breast milk production in mothers), as well as the sex organs.
The majority of tumors on the pituitary gland are benign (non-cancerous). These types of pituitary tumors are called non-secretory, because they do not secrete excess hormones. However, even these benign pituitary tumors can be symptomatic and cause problems. Symptoms from pituitary tumors can include headaches, changes in behavior, and even visual impairment which are caused by the tumors growing to the point that they begin to impact surrounding structures in the brain. Other symptoms include nausea and vomiting.
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, call us at 478-743-7092!
While it is true that the majority of pituitary tumors are benign, this is not always the case. Some tumors secrete too much of a hormone and these are called secretory tumors. There are multiple types of secretory tumors, including:
- Thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) – TSH-secreting tumors or adenomas produce too much thyroid stimulating hormone. This enlarges the thyroid gland and leads to hyperthyroidism.
- Gigantism – This occurs when too much growth hormone is produced and causes a child to grow abnormally tall.
- Prolactinoma – This is the most common type of secretory tumor. Too much prolactin is produced which leads to excess milk discharge from the breasts. This not only affects women, but men as well. There are numerous symptoms including infertility, osteoporosis, headaches, and changes to the menstrual cycle.
Pituitary tumors are very treatable. However, as with most medical conditions, the earlier a pituitary tumor is discovered, the better the chances of successful treatment. The biggest issues arise when the tumor has grown large enough to impact other structures in the brain. Once they begin to expand, removing the tumor can put the pituitary, itself, at risk.
Thankfully, the Georgia Neurosurgical Institute is one of the Southeast’s leaders in the treatment of brain tumors. We are the only surgical center in Middle Georgia that is equipped to deal with brain tumors.