Pituitary Tumors


Multidisciplinary, integrated care is at the core of our management of pituitary tumors.  Through cooperation between the Departments of Neurosurgery, Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery, Radiology, Radiation Therapy, and the Division of Endocrinology, patients are managed in a truly integrated and holistic fashion.

On the surgical side, in March 2000, Matthew Ewend, MD, Chair of the Department of Neurosurgery, along with Brent A. Senior, MD, Chief of the Division of Rhinology, Allergy, and Endoscopic Skull Base Surgery, became the first team in North Carolina to perform Minimally Invasive Pituitary Surgery (MIPS) to treat pituitary tumors.  In contrast to traditional open approaches, using endoscopes for visualization, the nose is used as a corridor to approach the tumor, so that no facial or oral incisions are made, dramatically reducing the overall morbidity of the procedure.  Recovery is rapid and no packing is typically used.  "Hydroscopy," a technique developed and popularized by Drs. Ewend and Senior, is performed following tumor removal in order to assess for residual tumor.

Management of the function of the pituitary gland is essential in the care of patients with pituitary tumors.  Dr. Julie Sharpless and her team of endocrinologists focus on both the treatment of pituitary tumors that produce too much hormone (Cushing’s Disease, acromegaly, prolactinoma) and on restoring normal pituitary function in patients who have lost function due to their tumors.

Drs. Ewend and Senior, along with colleagues Adam Zanation, MD, and Carlos Ebert, MD, in the Department of Otolaryngology, and Dr. Deanna Sasaki-Adams in the Department of Neurosurgery, have become recognized experts in this exciting area, lecturing nationally and internationally on the topic, in addition to authoring publications in several books and journals.  They have performed over 800 of these procedures, placing University of North Carolina at the forefront of minimally invasive approaches to skull base tumors.

Physician Team:

Related Information:

Resources and Links for Patients with Pituitary Tumors: