OHSU

Choosing a Doctor to Treat Your Pituitary Disorder

Having a pituitary tumor can be frightening. However, most pituitary tumors are benign (non cancerous) and can be treated with medication or removed with surgery.

There are many types of pituitary tumors. No matter what kind you have, you should have hormone testing before and after treatment. For the best results, see a neuroendocrinologist (a doctor who specializes in hormone system problems, especially pituitary disorders). If you need surgery, your neuroendocrinologist can help you find the right neurosurgeon (doctor specializing in surgery on the nerves and nervous system).

How to find a good neurosurgeon

Pituitary tumors are not very common, so just a few medical centers have surgeons who are experienced at removing them. If you don't live near a major medical center, you may need to travel to one to get the best care.

At the OHSU Northwest Pituitary Center, our experienced neurosurgeons and neuroendocrinologists treat patients from around the Northwest region. Our staff can help coordinate your care with your primary care doctor at home.

To find an experienced neurosurgeon, you should ask:

  • How many pituitary surgeries have you done? (An experienced pituitary neurosurgeon has done 200 or more.)
  • What is your rate of success (problem cured, no complications)? How many patients have complications after surgery?

Successful pituitary surgery includes:

  • Curing Cushing's disease or acromegaly
  • Curing vision problems or stopping them from getting worse

Some pituitary surgery complications are:

  • Damage to the pituitary gland during surgery
  • Diabetes insipidus
  • Vision loss
  • Damage to the hypothalamus
  • Leak of cerebrospinal fluid (the fluid around the brain and spinal cord)
  • Infection after surgery

How to find a good neuroendocrinologist

Most endocrinologists who are qualified to treat pituitary tumors work closely with good neurosurgeons.

To find an experienced neuroendocrinologist, you should ask how many people with pituitary tumors they treat every year. An experienced neuroendocrinologist usually has a special clinic for pituitary disorders and related conditions. They often publish many papers in medical journals and give lectures to other doctors and health providers.