Absolute Expertise in the Field of Pituitary Care

At Barrow Brain and Spine, our pituitary experts are advancing the field of pituitary understanding and treatment, bringing you the best available resources in care. We diligently communicate with you and your loved ones, ensuring you have a helpful partner every step of the way. We treat a wide range of conditions and complex pituitary tumor types. Take a look at some of the conditions we treat and procedures we offer below.

See Some of the Conditions We Treat

  • Pituitary Adenoma

    What is a pituitary adenoma?

    A pituitary adenoma is a noncancerous tumor, and one of the most common pituitary tumor types. While an adenoma won’t spread to other parts of the body, it can cause the body to produce too many or too few hormones, leading to other pituitary conditions.

     

    How experienced is the Barrow team in treating pituitary adenomas?

    While pituitary adenomas are very rare, they’re very common to us. We treat more than 1,000 patients each year that suffer from pituitary adenomas, and perform more than 200 surgeries annually.  The teams here at Barrow are exceptionally trained and equipped to deal with pituitary adenomas and any subsequent conditions. 

     

    What are the most common types of treatments for pituitary adenomas?

    The best treatment for your tumor depends on a number factors, and our pituitary experts will help shepherd you through this process. The most commonly recommended treatments for pituitary adenoma include minimally invasive transsphenoidal surgery, medication, and focused radiation treatment.

     

    Fortunately, most patients with pituitary tumors will not require surgery, and can benefit from close clinical monitoring instead. From surgery to radiosurgery, Barrow has the team, knowledge, and equipment you need and deserve when seeking pituitary treatment.

     

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  • Acromegaly

    What is acromegaly?

    If there is excess growth hormone (GH) in the blood, abnormal growth of bones and muscle may occur. This chronic condition causes certain tissues in the body to grow abnormally large — this is often caused by noncancerous pituitary tumors.

     

    How experienced is the Barrow team in treating acromegaly?

    While acromegaly only affects about 1 in 25,000 adults, the team at Barrow is better equipped than any other; in fact, we performed 5X more pituitary surgeries between 2011 and 2013 than any other hospital in the state.

     

    What are the most common types of treatments for acromegaly?

    Acromegaly can be treated with surgery, medication, and radiation using an individualized treatment plan for each patient. Our pituitary experts will guide you through this process and help you make informed decisions.

     

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  • Cushing’s Disease

    What is Cushing’s Disease?

    A pituitary adenoma (a type of benign pituitary tumor) is the root cause of Cushing’s Disease. It’s characterized by excess levels of cortisol in the blood, a steroid hormone produced by the adrenal glands. The symptoms can be devastating and include weight gain, psychiatric concerns, and brittle bones.

     

    How experienced is the Barrow team in treating Cushing’s Disease?

    Cushing’s Disease is extremely rare, with only 5 to 25 cases appearing per million people per year; however, the Barrow team has treated hundreds of patients and has the collective resources to continually learn from and treat this rare disease.

     

    What are the most common types of treatments for Cushing’s Disease?

    Cushing’s disease can be treated with surgery, medication, and radiation using an individualized treatment plan for each patient. Our pituitary experts will guide you through this process and help you make the best decision based on your specific diagnosis.

     

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  • Meningioma

    What is a meningioma?

    Meningiomas are benign tumors (usually) that can arise near the pituitary gland in addition to many other locations in the brain. Patients with these tumors require specialized care because of the proximity to the pituitary gland, which can impact hormone function, as well as the optic nerve, significantly impacting vision. Our pituitary experts can help treat your meningioma and also care for the hormone and other concerns in a comprehensive way.

     

    How experienced is the Barrow team in treating meningiomas?

    The Barrow team is very experienced in treating this condition and is considered a national leader. Our experts perform more brain tumor surgeries than any other center in the Southwest, and quite possibly the country. We supplement our clinical program with a research program that consistently seeks newer, better solutions to meningioma treatment.

     

    What are the most common types of treatments for meningiomas?

    The most common treatment options are “watchful waiting,” surgical removal of the tumor, and stereotactic radiosurgery. Our experts work with you to design a treatment plan that is individualized for your needs. We offer minimally invasive keyhole craniotomy, endoscopic endonasal surgery, and traditional approaches to treating the tumor.

     

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  • Chordoma

    What are chordomas?

    A chordoma is a rare brain tumor that manifests at the base of the brain. Patients with these tumors require specialized care because of the proximity to the pituitary gland. This can impact hormone function and the optic nerve, which can in turn impact vision. Our tumor experts can comprehensively help treat your tumor as well as the corresponding hormone complexities.

     

    How experienced is the Barrow team in treating chordomas?

    The Barrow team cares for more chordoma patients than any other center in the Southwest. We collaborate with and develop new treatments alongside the Chordoma Foundation as well as clinical and basic science researchers. Through this work, we’re able to bring our patients the most up-to-date treatments. We also have a tumor banking program to preserve tumor specimens for future research studies, enabling better treatment options for superior patient care.

     

    What are the most common types of treatments for Chordoma?

    In most patients, surgical removal of the tumor is the most common first treatment. Most patients are recommended to undergo a very focused type of radiation aimed specifically at the tumor after surgery is completed.

     

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  • Craniopharyngioma

    What are Craniopharyngiomas?

    Craniopharyngiomas are benign tumors that arise around the pituitary gland and cause pressure on brain structures. A craniopharyngioma pushing on the optic nerve can cause vision loss, while one pushing on the pituitary gland can cause symptoms of pituitary deficiency.

     

    How experienced is the Barrow team in treating craniopharyngiomas?

    Craniopharyngiomas account for approximately 2-5% of all primary brain tumors. The Barrow team cares for more craniopharyngioma patients than any center in the Southwest.

     

    What are the most common types of treatments for craniopharyngiomas?

    The best approach for craniopharyngiomas treatment tends to involve a surgical approach. However, our team is skilled in minimally-invasive techniques, such as keyhole brain surgery, stereotactic surgery, and expanded endoscopic endonasal surgery. Our team also includes experts to guide you through your recovery and help you manage hormone complications.

     

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See Some of the Procedures We Offer

  • Transsphenoidal Surgery

    What is transsphenoidal surgery?

    Transsphenoidal surgery is a minimally invasive technique to remove pituitary tumors; it involves entering the pituitary gland using the nostrils. There are no skin incisions which shortens recovery time and mitigates any visible scarring.

     

    How experienced is the team with transsphenoidal surgery?

    The Barrow team is one of the most experienced teams in the country, performing more than 200 pituitary surgeries each year. Research has demonstrated that surgeons who perform many of these procedures have better patient outcomes that surgeons who perform just a few a year.

     

    What is the estimated recovery time?

    Each patient is different, so make sure to talk with your physician about recommended recovery times. However, due to its less invasive nature, expect to be in the hospital around 1 to 2 days, and a shorter recovery time in general.

     

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  • Keyhole Craniotomy

    What is keyhole craniotomy?

    Keyhole craniotomy (or keyhole brain surgery) involves creating a tiny opening in the scalp and skull. Through this keyhole, your surgeon will insert instruments to better see the affected area with real-time imaging, and will then treat the affected tissue while avoiding the healthy tissue.

     

    How experienced is the team with keyhole craniotomy?

    This technique is commonly performed at Barrow. We perform hundreds of this type of surgery each year, giving our team the volume to be absolute experts in this approach.

     

    What is the estimated recovery time?

    Recovery times can vary, but on average, you can expect to be discharged from the hospital 1-3 days after your procedure. Any postoperative treatment that may be required can begin soon thereafter, leading to faster treatment of urgent issues, such as cancerous tumors.

     

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  • Stereotactic Radiosurgery (Gamma Knife® and CyberKnife® Radiosurgery)

    What is stereotactic radiosurgery?

    Stereotactic radiosurgery is a very focused type of radiation treatment used to carefully target brain tumors and other conditions. Barrow team offers several types of focused radiation (e.g., Gamma Knife® and CyberKnife® and IMRT) in order to choose the right type of treatment for the patient. No center in the southwest offers the breadth of radiation treatment options. This type of treatment is typically used to augment other treatments such as surgery and medication.

     

    How experienced is the team with stereotactic radiosurgery?

    The first GammaKnife® procedure in Arizona was conducted at Barrow in 1997.  Barrow had the first GammaKnife® unit in the state, so we have extensive experience treating hundreds of patients with pituitary tumors and other skull base tumors.

     

    What is the estimated recovery time?

    Stereotactic radiosurgery is an outpatient procedure, meaning that patients receive the treatment in an office setting and go home on the same day. Most patients experience no symptoms from the treatment.  But as always, consult your physician and care facilitator for your specific treatment and post-surgery recovery plans.

     

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  • Clinical Trials

    Our physicians and staff are interested in pushing the envelope. We’re driven to find answers where none currently exist. It’s what makes our clinical trials program such an asset to patients seeking specialized care. We have an active clinical trials program. Your neurosurgeon and care team will discuss clinical trials with you to decide if participation is right for you. 

     

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Don't See Your Condition or Procedure?

The conditions and procedures listed on this page represent only a small portion of what we treat. If you don't see the specific condition you're looking for, please contact our Patient Navigator for additional information.

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As a Barrow patient, you can feel confident we’ll exhaust every avenue to arrive at a proper diagnosis and treatment plan customized specifically for you. Request an appointment online and our Patient Navigator will guide you through the next steps.

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