A Team Effort to Treat a Pea-Sized Gland

HYANNIS – Endoscopic surgery for pituitary tumors involves the use of small instruments, but neurosurgeon Nicholas Coppa, MD, FAANS, is quick to say it takes a big team to make the surgeries a success.

“It’s very much a collaborative effort among endocrinology, neurosurgery and otolaryngology specialties,” he said.

Dr. Coppa frequently works with endocrinologist Catalina Norman, MD, PhD, and ear, nose and throat surgeon Ross Johnston, MD.

The pituitary gland sits at the base of the brain. It makes important hormones that control several different systems in the body and help maintain normal body function.

“The overwhelming majority of patients with big tumors present with visual problems,” said Dr. Coppa. “They get tunnel vision from a tumor putting pressure on the vision nerves.

Many patients’ pituitary problems are detected incidentally while the physician is trying to diagnose a set of symptoms, most commonly headaches, he added. A variety of asymptomatic tumors are detected this way.

A subset of pituitary tumors secrete excess hormones, which create syndromes characterized by whatever hormone is being secreted in excess, Dr. Coppa added. Oftentimes these problems are diagnosed by an endocrinologist.

Before coming to Neurosurgeons of Cape Cod – now known as Cape Cod Healthcare Neurosurgery – in 2013, Dr. Coppa was professor of skull base surgery at Oregon Health and Science University’s Northwest Pituitary Center. He has performed more than 200 endoscopic surgeries for pituitary tumors, sinonasal malignancies and anterior skull base encephaloceles. The procedure is fairly new on Cape Cod, he said.

The pituitary gland is about the size of a pea, so operating on it is a tricky and delicate procedure.

The surgeon commonly works with an endoscope inserted through one nostril, and microsurgical instruments through the other nostril. This allows him to maneuver to the surgical area.

According to the Northwest Pituitary Center’s web site, “The tube is connected to a TV monitor that helps your doctor see the surgical area even more clearly than with a microscope. Your doctor can also use intraoperative neuro-navigation to perform image-guided surgery, based on a pre-operative CT scan or MRI. This helps the doctor see exactly where the tumor is and avoid damaging healthy brain tissue that is nearby.”

Nasal endoscopy for the neurosurgeon has really taken off in the last 10 years, according to Dr. Coppa. The main reason for the increase is because the technique allows better visualization of the anatomy, he said.

“We find that it allows, at least in my experience, more maneuverability of your micro-surgical instruments. That’s been very satisfying for patients. The nasal morbidity [adverse effects] is lower compared to historic ways of doing it.”

Ear, nose and throat doctors use trans-nasal surgery to treat many sinus conditions, said Dr. Coppa. But the procedure is predominantly used by neurosurgeons for pituitary tumors, other tumors of the skull base and malignancies of the sinus cavity that often invade the brain.

After endoscopic pituitary surgery, patients are typically in the hospital for several days and resume day-to-day activities within that first week.

By BILL O’NEILL, OneCape Health News


From http://www.capecod.com/newscenter/a-team-effort-to-treat-a-pea-sized-gland/

Researchers at Department of Endocrinology and Diabetes Release New Data on Cushing Syndrome

By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Biotech Week — Research findings on Adrenal Gland Diseases are discussed in a new report. According to news reporting originating from Melbourne, Australia, by NewsRx correspondents, research stated, “Stereotactic radiation therapy has emerged as an alternative to conventional radiotherapy for treatment of Cushing disease. The aim of this study was to investigate the efficacy and safety of this treatment.”

Our news editors obtained a quote from the research from the Department of Endocrinology and Diabetes, “Records of patients with Cushing disease treated with stereotactic radiation were reviewed. Seventeen patients underwent stereotactic radiosurgery.”

According to the news editors, the research concluded: “Ten achieved remission after a mean of 23 (95% confidence interval, 15-31) months, and two developed hormone deficiencies.”

For more information on this research see: Stereotactic radiosurgery for treatment of Cushing disease: an Australian experience. Internal Medicine Journal, 2012;42(10):1153-6. (Wiley-Blackwell – www.wiley.com/; Internal Medicine Journal – onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/10.1111/(ISSN)1445-5994)

The news editors report that additional information may be obtained by contacting L. Wein, Dept. of Endocrinology and Diabetes, Alfred Hospital, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Additional authors for this research include M. Dally and L.A Bach (see also Adrenal Gland Diseases).

Keywords for this news article include: Melbourne, Treatment, Radiotherapy, Radiation Therapy, Cushing’s Syndrome, Adrenal Gland Diseases, Australia and New Zealand.

Our reports deliver fact-based news of research and discoveries from around the world. Copyright 2013, NewsRx LLC

From http://www.hispanicbusiness.com/2013/9/18/researchers_at_department_of_endocrinology_and.htm

Cyclic Cushing’s syndrome: a clinical challenge

  1. J R Meinardi1,2,
  2. B H R Wolffenbuttel2 and
  3. R P F Dullaart2

+Author Affiliations

  1. 1Department of Internal Medicine, Canisius Wilhelmina Ziekenhuis, PO Box 9015, 6500 GS Nijmegen, The Netherlands and 2Department of Endocrinology, University Medical Centre Groningen, University of Groningen, PO Box 30001, 9700 RB Groningen, The Netherlands
  1. (Correspondence should be addressed to: R P F Dullaart; Email:r.p.f.dullaart@int.umcg.nl)


Cyclic Cushing’s syndrome (CS) is a rare disorder, characterized by repeated episodes of cortisol excess interspersed by periods of normal cortisol secretion. The so-called cycles of hypercortisolism can occur regularly or irregularly with intercyclic phases ranging from days to years.

To formally diagnose cyclic CS, three peaks and two troughs of cortisol production should be demonstrated. Our review of 65 reported cases demonstrates that cyclic CS originates in 54% of cases from a pituitary corticotroph adenoma, in 26% from an ectopic ACTH-producing tumour and in about 11% from an adrenal tumour, the remainder being unclassified. The pathophysiology of cyclic CS is largely unknown.

The majority of patients with cyclic CS have clinical signs of CS, which can be either fluctuating or permanent. In a minority of patients, clinical signs of CS are absent. The fluctuating clinical picture and discrepant biochemical findings make cyclic CS extremely hard to diagnose. Clinicians should therefore be aware of this clinical entity and actively search for it in all patients with suspected CS but normal biochemistry or vice versa.

Frequent measurements of urinary cortisol or salivary cortisol levels are a reliable and convenient screening tool for suspected cyclic CS. Cortisol stimulation or suppression tests may give spurious results owing to spontaneous falls or rises in serum cortisol at the time of testing. When cyclic CS is biochemically confirmed, further imaging and laboratory studies are guided by the presence or absence of ACTH dependency. In cases of suspected ectopic ACTH production, specific biochemical testing for carcinoids or neuroendocrine tumours is required, including measurements of serotonin in platelets and/or urine, chromogranin A and calcitonin.

Read the entire article here:  http://www.scribd.com/doc/159503297/Cyclic-Cushing%E2%80%99s-syndrome-a-clinical-challenge

Laparoscopic Bilateral Transperitoneal Adrenalectomy For Cushing Syndrome

Surgical Laparoscopy, Endoscopy & Percutaneous Techniques, 07/16/2013  Clinical Article

Aggarwal S et al. –

Laparoscopic adrenalectomy is well established for treatment of adrenal lesions. However, bilateral adrenalectomy for Cushing syndrome is a challenging and time–consuming operation.

The authors report their experience of laparoscopic bilateral adrenalectomy for this disease in 19 patients. Laparoscopic bilateral adrenalectomy for Cushing syndrome is feasible and safe. It confers all the advantages of minimally invasive approach such as less postoperative pain, shorter hospitalization, lesser wound complications, and faster recovery.

The advantages of the laparoscopic approach have led to an earlier referral for bilateral adrenalectomy by endocrinologist in patients with failed pituitary surgery.


This article is available on PubMed

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