Specialists in Duke's nationally ranked endocrinology program offer comprehensive diagnosis and treatment options for pituitary disorders including pituitary tumors, and pituitary gland disorders that occur when the gland secretes too much, or not enough hormones. The pituitary gland produces hormones that affect the growth and function of other glands in the body.
Comprehensive care for pituitary disorders
If you or someone you know is diagnosed with a pituitary gland disorder, our specialists have the experience and expertise to treat it. Our endocrinologists are experienced with complex and rare pituitary disorders that occur when your gland produces too much, or not enough of one or more of the eight hormones secreted by the pituitary gland. We also manage and treat hypopituitarism, which an underproduction of pituitary gland hormones, acromegaly, an overproduction of growth hormones, as well as Cushing’s Disease, which involves elevated cortisol levels.
If you have a pituitary tumor (adenomas), we work with you to determine the best treatment option -- medical therapy or surgical removal -- to return your growth hormones to normal levels. We base our treatment decisions on the size of your pituitary tumor and how your pituitary gland functions. Our approach ensures you get the most effective treatments possible, and avoid unnecessary surgery.
Choose Duke for your pituitary disorder treatment because we offer:
- Experienced pituitary disorder specialists. You work with a team of doctors including endocrinologists and ear nose and throat surgeons who undergo advanced training and have years of experience working with patients with pituitary disorders like yours. Our experts include board-certified surgeons, radiation oncologists, neuro-ophthalmologists and dedicated nurses.
- Nationally recognized surgeons. If you need surgery, our surgeons make the least invasive option for removing pituitary tumors -– endoscopic transsphenoidal resection -– possible for a wide range of patients.
- Reputation for excellence. We rank among the top hospitals in the country for endocrinology and neurology care by U.S. News & World Report. That means our specialists offer expert care using the most advanced tests, surgeries and treatments available today.
- Personalized treatments. We are experts at the medical management of pituitary disorders. Whenever possible, we use medication to control your symptoms and control hormone levels as an alternative to surgery. Our team is also trained to recognize when surgery is necessary.
- Dedicated pituitary disorder treatment clinic. Our program offers highly-specialized care for pituitary disorders and pituitary tumors. Every Tuesday, you can be seen by an endocrinologist dedicated to managing and treating these conditions.
The first and best option for treating many pituitary tumors and the disorders they cause. We use two approaches.
- Endoscopic transsphenoidal resection. A minimally invasive procedure that removes the pituitary tumor through your nose. There are no external incisions and no visible scars. In addition, you experience less pain, shorter hospital stays and recover faster than open surgery.
- Transcranial resection. When a pituitary tumor is too large for removal through the minimally invasive, endoscopic approach, the pituitary gland will be removed through an incision in your scalp at the top of your skull.
Treats non-cancerous pituitary tumors (adenomas). High-energy rays deliver precise treatment to the pituitary tumor. Radiation may be used to shrink your tumor before surgery. Radiation may also be the only treatment used when tumors have spread into brain tissue, which may make them too risky to remove with surgery.
We may prescribe medication for acromegaly, prolactinomas and Cushing’s disease to block or lower your body’s production of growth hormones. Some patients will need lifelong medication to help control their hormone levels, even after surgery. We may also prescribe medication for patients who not candidates for surgery.
Measure hormone levels in your urine and blood. You may need to collect urine for 24 hours, and show whether your pituitary gland is producing excessive cortisol.
Uses magnets and radio waves to create detailed, high resolution images of your pituitary gland. These images are used to look for abnormalities.
Drugs or hormones artificially stimulate or prevent you from producing certain hormones so your doctor can see how your body reacts. Our endocrinologists and nurses are specialized in pituitary provocative testing.
Measures cortisol levels in your blood to assist in diagnosing Cushing’s disease.
Measures growth hormone levels before and after you consume a sugary drink, which should lower your levels. May indicate the presence of acromegaly if growth hormone levels stay high.