Multidisciplinary Pituitary Tumor Team

The UNC Multidisciplinary Pituitary Tumor Clinic team encompasses all aspects of pituitary care. Our team of endocrinologists, neurosurgeons, otolaryngologists, radiation oncologists, neuro-radiologists neuro-pathologists, and neuro-ophthalmologists work collaboratively to provide true multidisciplinary care for patients with pituitary tumors. Each specialist offers unique insight and expertise in their respective field.

Multidisciplinary Pituitary Tumor Clinic

Our Multidisciplinary Pituitary Tumor Clinic has improved patient care by requiring fewer appointments for our pituitary tumor patients, which leads to a faster diagnosis and treatment. Great pituitary care requires the input of several different medical and surgical specialists, and we work hard to make these visits as convenient as possible.

Pituitary Tumor Treatment - UNC Neurosurgery

Pituitary Tumor Board

Our patients get the expertise of all members of the pituitary tumor team. Patients are discussed at our multidisciplinary tumor board meetings and clinical plans are made and altered. This allows for more than one expert opinion in each specialty.

Pituitary Tumor Symptoms and Diagnosis

The pituitary gland sits at the base of the brain and controls many important hormones throughout the body. Pituitary tumors can disrupt regular hormone production and throw off organs that are controlled by pituitary hormones.

Pituitary tumors are common and are mostly benign (noncancerous, not malignant). Pituitary tumors can often go undetected for years and never cause any symptoms. For many patients however, severe symptoms can occur and treatment by medication or surgery is needed. Symptoms of pituitary tumors include vision loss, frequent headaches, fatigue, loss of menses, loss of libido, and weight change. Each of these symptoms can be caused by other medical conditions. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, notify your primary care provider.

Pituitary tumors can cause the pituitary gland to decrease hormone production, resulting in a medical condition called hypopituitarism, or can cause the pituitary gland to increase hormone production. Both conditions lead to hormone deficiency and will require treatment to regulate hormone levels in the body.

Medical imaging including CT scan and MRI is used to confirm the presence of a pituitary tumor and to monitor its growth. Blood work and urine tests are also used to check hormone levels that can be disrupted by a pituitary tumor.

Pituitary Tumor Treatment at UNC Hospital

UNC’s Multidisciplinary Pituitary Tumor team works together to develop the most effective treatment plan for each patient. Our nationally recognized surgical skull base team leads clinical advancements and expertise for skull base tumors. Our surgeons lecture nationally and internationally on skull base surgery and have written publications in several books and journals. They have performed over 800 of these pituitary tumor procedures, placing University of North Carolina at the forefront of minimally invasive approaches to skull base tumors.

Minimally invasive approaches using the nose as a corridor dramatically reduces the overall morbidity of the procedure. We use the most advanced technology to increase safety and complete removal for each pituitary tumor procedure.

Management of the function of the pituitary gland is essential in the care of patients with pituitary tumors. Endocrinologist Elizabeth Harris, MD and her team, 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 as a result of their tumors.

 

The UNC Multidisciplinary Pituitary Tumor Clinic is located in the North Carolina Cancer Hospital at UNC Hospital’s main campus in Chapel Hill, NC. If you would like to make an appointment at our clinic, please call 919-445-2410 to schedule.

Pituitary Tumor Physician Team:

Neurosurgery

Matthew G. Ewend, MD, FACS

Deanna Sasaki-Adams, MD

Carolyn Quinsey, MD

Endocrinology & Metabolism

David Clemmons, MD

Elizabeth Harris, MD, FACS

Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery

Brent A. Senior, MD, FACS, FARS

Adam M. Zanation, MD

Charles S. Ebert, Jr., MD, MPH

Brian D. Thorp, MD, FACS, FARS

Department of Radiation Therapy

Colette Shen, MD, PhD

Department of Radiology

J. Keith Smith, MD, PhD

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