Pituitary Gland Tumors

Find a Brain Tumor Specialist Near You

Houston Methodist’s team of pituitary gland tumor experts provides compassionate clinical care and targeted treatment — backed by research — to achieve the best possible outcomes.

The neurosurgeons at the Kenneth R. Peak Center for Brain and Pituitary Tumor Treatment and Research provide personalized neurological and oncological strategies to treat all types of pituitary gland tumors. Our minimally invasive procedures lead to complication rates of less than 1% and higher success rates than anywhere else in Houston.


The pituitary gland, located at the base of the brain, regulates vital areas of the body. This “master gland” releases substances that control the basic functions of growth, metabolism and reproduction, functioning in a delicate balance.

 Leading Care for Pituitary Tumors


  • Pituitary disorders program – Our surgeons pioneered many of the minimally invasive techniques used in our procedures and elsewhere. Our rate of control for pituitary tumors is more than 95%.
  • Advanced treatment options – We offer aggressive treatment protocols, including dopamine agonists, somatostatin analogs (drugs that mimic natural hormones) and minimally invasive endoscopic surgery and stereotactic radiosurgery.
  • Highly specialized equipment – The Houston Methodist Radiosurgery Program offers treatment with either the Gamma Knife Icon® or Novalis® treatment systems, allowing for flexibility within our patient-tailored treatments.  


Your Partner in Pituitary Gland Tumor Care

What are symptoms of a pituitary gland tumor?

Some small pituitary tumors often lack obvious symptoms. Large tumors may cause symptoms related to tumor pressure or changes in hormone levels.


Tumor pressure 
Because the pituitary gland is located just below the optic (vision) nerves, these tumors can cause double vision, partial vision loss or blindness if left untreated. The most common problem is loss of peripheral vision, though patients often miss this symptom if they correct the issue by moving their head back and forth.


If the tumor is large, it may press on other parts of the brain, causing problems with memory, weakness or numbness.


Hormone levels

Pituitary gland tumors cause the gland to release too much or too little of certain hormones. Symptoms may include:


  • Headache 
  • Menstrual cycle irregularities
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Unintentional weight gain or loss
  • Vision loss
  • Weakness 

How are pituitary gland tumors diagnosed?

Your doctor’s first step is to determine tumor size and location. Examinations and tests may include: 


  • Imaging studies: CT scan and/or MRI
  • Visual acuity and field tests: Ophthalmologists perform these tests to determine whether the tumor is pressing on one or both optic nerves, or on other parts of the visual system.
  • Hormone levels: Endocrinologists measure hormone levels in the blood and urine to see whether pituitary-related hormone levels are abnormal. 

How are pituitary tumors treated?

Endoscopic surgery is the most common treatment for pituitary tumors, and sometimes is the only treatment required. Some tumors also need precisely focused image-guided radiation therapy, prescription medication or hormone replacement therapy.


Our physicians design a personalized treatment plan based on genetic information, detailed screening and advanced scientific techniques. Most patients only stay in the hospital for 24 to 48 hours.

Pituitary Gland Hormones and Functions

Your doctor will test hormone levels because they can be affected by a tumor. Hormone tests tell your doctor how well your body’s balance and regulation of these hormones is working. Tests include blood tests and stimulation or hormones tests. If needed, your doctor may refer you to an endocrinologist for more testing.


Anterior lobe hormones:


  • Adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) – Causes adrenal gland to release several hormones, particularly cortisol.
  • Follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) – Stimulates ovulation in women and sperm production in men.
  • Growth hormones (GH) – Main hormone for general body growth which also regulates the metabolism of glucose.
  • Luteinizing hormone (LH) – Stimulates ovulation in women and testosterone production in men.
  • Prolactin (PRL) – Produces breast enlargement, lactation and loss of menstrual cycle during pregnancy, and causes impotence in men.
  • Thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) – Causes thyroid gland to grow and release thyroid hormones (called T4 and T3).


Posterior lobe hormones: 


  • Antidiuretic hormone (ADH) – Controls thirst and the amount of fluid reabsorbed into the bloodstream and urine produced by the kidneys.
  • Oxytocin – Stimulates uterine contractions in women.  

Types of Pituitary Tumors

Information about various types of pituitary tumors and their symptoms and treatment.
Types of Pituitary Tumors >

Patient Success 

Watch videos of real-life patient success stories.
View Patient Stories >

Innovations in Brain Tumor Research

We use some of the most advanced techniques such as BrainPath, a virtual surgical image-guidance system that employs functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to achieve unprecedented surgical accuracy. With this tool, we can be accurate in tumor removal to within a single millimeter.


Our team also uses high-frequency ultrasound, powerful sound waves that shatter large tumors into small pieces before removing them.

Our physicians at Houston Methodist specialize in treating pituitary tumors at the following convenient locations.

    Clear All Filters
    No results were found that matched your search criteria. Please try removing filters or zooming out on the map.