If you've been diagnosed with a pituitary disorder or your neurologist suspects you have one, Penn Medicine's Pituitary Center can help you find the answers you need.
Pituitary cysts and tumors vary and can cause different problems in each person. Size, location, and hormonal behavior affect your symptoms and determine how you're treated. That's why Penn's Pituitary Center is comprised of specialists with decades of experience in diagnosing, treating and managing the effects of pituitary tumors.
Your First Consultation
When you turn to Penn's Pituitary Center, you'll meet with our team within a few weeks of your appointment request. With just one phone call, you'll arrange a full day of consultations and testing, saving you time and energy.
During this initial visit, you'll meet:
- A neurosurgeon
- An ear, nose and throat doctor (ENT)
- An endocrinologist
These doctors will talk with you about:
- Your medical history and symptoms
- Your current diagnosis, if you have one
- Any images or scans you've already had
Next, you'll have a series of tests, which may include:
- Blood work
- Eye exams
- Regular or specialized MRI scans
Often, your doctors will know by the end of the day whether you'll need more blood tests and which treatments will be best.
If you need surgery, we'll work with you to schedule your surgery in a few weeks. Before surgery, you may need to come back for additional tests.
If you need medication, you can begin that very day.
Your Own Team of Pituitary Specialists
One of the strengths of Penn's Pituitary Center is that each case is handled by a team of doctors from multiple specialties. Throughout your time at our center, you may work with:
- Radiation oncologists
Your team meets each month to review your case and make sure your treatment stays on track.
Specialized Diagnostic Techniques
Accurately diagnosing a pituitary tumor requires advanced testing, which can be hard to find at local hospitals. The Penn Pituitary Center offers the latest tools and techniques used today.
High-Resolution MRI (3T)
This type of MRI scan provides extremely clear, high-resolution pictures of the pituitary gland and nearby structures. This technology is fast and allows doctors to take detailed scans in a relatively short period.
If needed, your doctors can find tumors that are 2 mm or smaller using a specialized scan called microadenoma sequence MRI. These scans can help your surgeon see tiny details that are important for diagnosing your tumor. It also helps your surgeon remove all of the tumor's cells.
Dynamic Endocrine Testing
Hormone testing is crucial for diagnosing pituitary tumors. For some people, a small pituitary tumor does not cause symptoms. The only way to diagnose it is by studying your hormones.
Dynamic endocrine testing is a series of special blood tests that help your endocrinologist rule out other conditions. The tests can also reveal whether your tumor is secreting hormones. These results can determine if you need medication instead of surgery, or in addition to surgery.
Inferior Petrosal Sinus Sampling (IPSS)
This test is given as part of the diagnosis of Cushing's disease. It helps to distinguish Cushing's from other conditions. Visit the Cushing's disease page to learn more about IPSS.