Surgeons Answer Your Questions About Greater Cincinnati’s Only Pituitary Tumor Center

As the region’s most comprehensive brain tumor center for adults, we know that offering hope means delivering leading-edge treatments and world-class care.

Jonathan Forbes, MD, a UC Health neurosurgeon and skull base surgeon, and Ahmad Sedaghat, MD, PhD, a UC Health rhinologist and an endoscopic sinus and skull base surgeon, share how advanced treatment options and a personalized, team approach to care is helping patients diagnosed with pituitary tumors.

SEDAGHAT, WHAT IS A PITUITARY TUMOR?

A pituitary tumor is a tumor within the pituitary gland, which is located at the base of the brain and is easily accessible through the nose and sinuses. The pituitary gland makes hormones that affect many other glands and functions within the body.

ARE PITUITARY TUMORS CANCEROUS?

The vast majority of pituitary tumors are not cancerous, and they don’t spread to other parts of the body.

FORBES, WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF A PITUITARY TUMOR?

Many pituitary tumors don’t cause symptoms and are found after routine brain imaging has been ordered for other reasons. Pituitary tumors that release hormones can cause symptoms when they are very small. These symptoms depend on the specific hormone that the tumor is making too much of.

Nonsecreting pituitary tumors (tumors that don’t release hormones) often do not cause symptoms when they are small. However, as these tumors get bigger, they can press on the optic pathways (of the eye) and damage eyesight. Larger pituitary tumors can also sometimes press on the pituitary gland, which can cause the gland to not work properly and not make enough of certain kinds of hormones.

 WHAT TREATMENTS ARE AVAILABLE FOR PITUITARY TUMORS?

Patients with pituitary tumors will be considered for one of three treatment pathways:

  1. Observation: Small, nonsecreting tumors are watched over time through periodic imaging.
  2. Minimally invasive surgical resection: Minimally invasive endoscopic endonasal surgery is a surgical procedure that allows doctors to remove the tumor through the nose. Surgeons do not make incisions on the outside of the body during this procedure. Both Dr. Forbes and Dr. Sedaghat are fellowship trained in this form of minimally invasive skull base surgery and are experts in making sure the procedure is performed safely with little discomfort after surgery.
  3. Radiation therapy: The Proton Therapy Center at UC Health is one of the few centers across the country with access to a specialized form of proton-beam radiation therapy for the skull base. This treatment can deliver high levels of radiation to tumor cells only, avoiding radiation to nearby parts of the body. These treatments are painless and often can be completed over a short period of time.

SEDAGHAT, WHY DO PATIENTS CHOOSE UC HEALTH FOR TREATING PITUITARY TUMORS?

UC Health has the region’s only pituitary center with staff whose practices are dedicated to excellence in the treatment of pituitary tumors. UC Health provides a multidisciplinary approach to determining the best treatment plan for patients with pituitary tumors. With a team made of neurosurgeons and otolaryngologists, as well as dedicated endocrinologists who focus on diseases of the pituitary gland, we develop personalized treatment plans based on the needs of the patient and the tumor itself.

We also bring an expert level of care to these patients not only through our practices but through our research as well. For fellowship-trained surgeons, this is a simple and straightforward surgery for us and the patient. But, we are also continually performing research to discover techniques that will make this surgery even easier and more comfortable for our patients.

SCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT with the Brain Tumor Center at UC Health by calling 513-475-8990. For more information, visit uchealth.com/braintumor.

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