Pituitary Tumors: Diagnosis & Treatment at the Pituitary Tumor Center

Pictured: Viviane Tabar & Lystra Swift Pituitary Tumor Center We offer expert treatment for prolactinomas, growth-hormone secreting adenomas, pituitary-based Cushing's disease, and other pituitary tumors. Neurosurgeon Viviane Tabar (right) and nurse Lystra Swift check equipment in one of the center's surgical suites.

Memorial Sloan Kettering’s Pituitary Tumor Center team is one of the most experienced in the nation in diagnosing and treating pituitary tumors. Every patient receives personalized care from our multidisciplinary group of experts, which includes neurosurgeons, endocrinologists, neuro-ophthalmologists, skull base surgeons, radiation oncologists, and neuroradiologists.

Tumors of the pituitary gland are often challenging to identify and diagnose, partly because in many cases the tumors never cause symptoms. In some cases, symptoms such as headaches, nausea, and vision problems are attributed to other diseases, and the search for a pituitary tumor is overlooked.

At our Pituitary Tumor Center, we combine the use of state-of-the-art diagnostics — including intraoperative MRI, imaging, hormone testing, and visual field testing — with surgery, radiation therapy, and medication to ensure that you receive the most-sophisticated care available. Often, our patients are able to visit with three of our specialists — an endocrinologist, an ophthalmologist, and a surgeon — in a single day, rather than having to see multiple doctors at different locations.

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Intra-Operative Imaging Suite To improve the success of brain surgery, Memorial Sloan Kettering’s neurosurgeons perform brain surgery in an intra-operative imaging suite that has a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanner in the operating room

Inside the Operating Room

Our intraoperative MRI is one of just a handful in hospitals in the country.(1) The high-field-strength MRI scanner enables our surgeons to rapidly and accurately capture images of the pituitary gland and surrounding structures. We can confirm that a tumor has been removed entirely while you are still under anesthesia. With this enhanced precision, outcomes for our patients have improved, and the need for a second surgery is reduced.

At Memorial Sloan Kettering we are also experienced in using a minimally invasive technique called transnasal transsphenoidal resection to remove pituitary tumors. Surgeons are able to bypass brain tissue, operating instead through an incision inside the nasal passage. The risk for neurologic complications with this approach is very low, and the surgery leaves no visible scar.

Our other surgical approaches include endoscopy — which involves the insertion of a thin, lighted tube with a camera on its tip (an endoscope) to facilitate removal of the tumor through the nose — and craniotomy. With craniotomy an incision is made in the skull to remove tumors that have become too large or enmeshed in the surface of the skull to remove in other ways.

Learn about our approach and expertise in diagnosing and treating specific types of pituitary tumors.