Pituitary tumours


Our neurosurgeons can safely remove a pituitary tumour using advanced surgical techniques

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About pituitary tumours

Pituitary tumours (adenomas) are non-cancerous (benign) growths that develop on the pituitary gland. They can cause an over or under production of the hormones that regulate bodily functions.

Need to know

Larger tumours can put pressure on the surrounding structures, such as the optic nerve, causing headaches and vision problems. They can also cause the under production or over production of hormones. 

Other tumour-specific symptoms include: 

  • Prolactin-secreting tumours, which can affecting a woman's periods and cause sexual problems in men. 
  • Somatotroph adenomas or GH-secreting tumours, which can cause abnormal growth and enlarged hands and feet.
  • TSH-secreting tumours, which can cause weight loss and palpitations.
  • ACTH-secreting tumours, which can cause a round face, weight gain, increased facial hair and depression.

Your consultant will discuss your symptoms with you and help to make a diagnosis. They may order the following tests:

  • Brain scans. MRI and CT scans show detailed images of your brain, and may reveal the size and location of the tumour.
  • Eye tests. During an eye test, your consultant will check your field of vision, which may be restricted with these tumours.
  • Blood tests. High levels of pituitary hormones may indicate a pituitary tumour.

Your consultant will discuss your treatment options with you and help to determine the best approach for you. If a pituitary tumour is getting larger and growing against the optic nerves, it may need to be removed through surgery. There are two approaches:

  • Through the nose. This is called trans-sphenoidal surgery. The pituitary gland is located just above the back of the nose, giving the surgeon access to the tumour by simply making a passage through the nose.
  • Through the skull. If the tumour is growing into the brain, a trans-cranial approach may be suggested, although this is not common now.

Our Pituitary tumours locations

SPECIALIST UNIT  London Neurosurgery Partnership

SPECIALIST UNIT London Neurosurgery Partnership

78 Harley Street W1G 7HJ London
The Harley Street Clinic

The Harley Street Clinic

35 Weymouth Street W1G 8BJ London
The Portland Hospital

The Portland Hospital

205-209 Great Portland Street W1W 5AH London
The Lister Hospital

The Lister Hospital

Chelsea Bridge Road, SW1W 8RH London
The Shard Outpatients

The Shard Outpatients

The Shard, 32 St Thomas Street SE1 9BS London
London Bridge Hospital

London Bridge Hospital

27 Tooley Street SE1 2PR London

Patient stories

This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.