Dr. Bailey has received extensive training in endoscopic approaches to tumors in the pituitary and base of the skull base through the UPMC Pituitary Center and Barnes Hospital. He is also very experienced with minimally invasive techniques and has performed numerous skull base resections. Since these tumors occur in or near the brain, a team approach is often required for optimal care. When removing pituitary and skull base tumors, Dr. Bailey works closely alongside neurosurgical teams and often in collaboration with other neurotology colleagues.
The pituitary gland is a small gland that resides in a bony structure at the base of the brain. This small, pea-sized gland is often referred to as the master gland because despite its size, it controls the function of most other endocrine glands. The pituitary gland produces a variety of hormones that ensure proper functioning of important processes in the body. Disorders of the pituitary gland usually involve a growth or tumor on the pituitary gland that interferes with its hormone production. The tumor may cause overproduction or underproduction of the pituitary hormones. Inappropriate production of pituitary hormones can cause a variety of problems. Pituitary tumors and other growths at the skull base can cause nonspecific symptoms such as headaches and vision loss or dramatically obvious abnormalities of growth such as gigantism. Some tumors may cause no symptoms at all.
Symptoms of a malfunctioning pituitary gland can be seen in specific conditions such as:
- Galactorrhea – the production and secretion of milk from the breast in both men and women due to an overproduction of the prolactin hormone.
- Gigantism (a.k.a. Acromegaly) – an overproduction of the growth hormone causes obvious enlargement of the face, hands and feet.
- Erectile Dysfunction – difficulty achieving an erection can be seen with an overproduction of prolactin a hormone secreted by the pituitary gland.
- Diabetes Insipidus – caused by an underproduction of vasopressin, an antidiuretic hormone, leading to excessive urination and thirst. Diabetes insipidus is a rare condition not associated with other more common forms of diabetes.
Depending the size, type and degree of symptoms, treatment of the pituitary and skull based tumors may involve surgery, radiation, a combination of the two or simply close monitoring. When surgery is determined to be appropriate, newer innovative surgical techniques, such as the Endoscopic Endonasal Approach (EEA) allow for a less invasive, safer removal of pituitary and skull base tumors. Compared to conventional surgery on pituitary and skull based tumors, EEA produces minimal to no scarring, fewer complications and a quicker recovery time. Dr. Bailey is well-trained and experienced in EEA as well as the Gamma Knife radiosurgery, another procedure that that uses radiation to destroy tumors and lesions, with no surgical incision. Gamma Knife radiosurgery is often used when conventional surgery carries too much risk for a patient.
Types of pituitary and skull base tumors or lesions we treat include:
- Pituitary tumors
- Sinus tumors
- Olfactory neuroblastoma
- Acoustic neuroma
- Optic nerve lesions