Joseph Watson, MD
Board Certified Neurosurgeon located in Tyson's Corner, Vienna, VA
Though pituitary tumors are seldom cancerous, they can cause a wide range of body-wide symptoms as they affect hormone production. At Cerebrum MD located near Northern Virginia and Greater DC area, Joseph Watson, MD, specializes in the surgical removal of pituitary adenomas. Dr. Watson has treated more than 1,000 patients with pituitary tumors, published scientific articles on pituitary disease and surgery, and co-authored a chapter on pituitary tumor disease. If you have questions about your symptoms, call the office.
Pituitary Tumors Q &A
What is the role of the pituitary gland?
Your pituitary gland is attached to the underside of your brain, where it controls the release of hormones throughout your body. The pituitary gland regulates most body functions, including growth and development.
The gland releases hormones that trigger other structures, including the thyroid gland, adrenal glands, ovaries, and testes, to either increase or decrease the number of hormones they send into your bloodstream.
What are the different types of pituitary tumors?
Pituitary tumors are rarely cancerous. Most pituitary tumors are benign pituitary adenomas that typically grow slowly. However, they vary in size and behavior.
Small pituitary tumors are often functional, meaning they produce and secrete pituitary hormones. These tumors are often detected at an early stage because they cause hormone imbalances and noticeable symptoms.
Large pituitary tumors usually aren’t functional. But the larger they get, the more likely they are to cause problems by pushing against the nearby nerves and putting pressure on the gland.
What symptoms develop due to a pituitary tumor?
Symptoms related to functional tumors that produce extra hormones include:
- Unexplained weight gain
- Unexplained weight loss
- Muscle weakness
- Aching joints
- Sexual dysfunction
- Irregular menstrual periods
Symptoms related to excessive pressure from a large tumor include:
- Vision loss
- Double vision
As a tumor presses against the pituitary gland and causes a drop in hormones, you may also experience fatigue, low blood pressure, and low blood sugar.
How are pituitary tumors treated?
Pituitary adenomas are treated with three possible options: surgery to remove the tumor, radiation therapy to destroy tumor cells, and medication to shrink or eliminate the tumor.
As specialists in the surgical treatment of pituitary adenomas, Dr. Watson and the Cerebrum MD team often use a surgical technique called subcapsular microdissection.
This technique allows them to precisely remove tumors from within the gland while preserving the remaining gland.
If your pituitary functioned properly and produced hormones before your surgery, you’ll still have enough gland left after surgery to continue supplying the hormones you need to stay healthy.
With his extensive experience, Dr. Watson can accurately remove a pituitary tumor without the assistance of image guidance, sparing you from exposure to harmful radiation. Additionally, he doesn’t need an MRI on the day of your surgery, so you avoid the expense and time.
If you need treatment for a pituitary tumor, call Cerebrum MD.