Pituitary & Skull Base Tumor

Our team leads the nation in revolutionary therapies and minimally invasive surgeries to treat pituitary tumors and skull base tumors.

Brain anatomy of pituitary gland - cross section
Pituitary Tumor Scan

Why choose UCLA Health for pituitary tumor care?

Our nationally renowned team delivers comprehensive care and innovative treatments for pituitary and skull base tumors. We combine our expertise and vast knowledge to bring you world-class care. Highlights of our program include:

High volume of successful procedures: Every year, our surgeons perform more pituitary surgeries than nearly any other health system in the United States. This high volume translates into greater experience and excellent outcomes. You’ll benefit from our unparalleled expertise and commitment to patient-centered care.

Minimally invasive expertise: Our neurosurgeons pioneered advanced minimally invasive procedures and endoscopic techniques that greatly decrease recovery time. Our pituitary program is one of the only programs in the country to use revolutionary techniques that leave no facial scars.

Multispecialty team: Our team includes neurosurgeons, neuroradiologists and endocrinologists who specialize in pituitary and other hormone-producing tumors. We come together to discuss your care and treatment plan. Your comprehensive care is our first priority. 

Nationally recognized program: U.S. News & World Report consistently ranks the UCLA Health departments of neurology and neurosurgery among the top in the country. As leaders in neuroscience, we’re dedicated to delivering outstanding care and groundbreaking treatments.

State-of-the-art radiation therapy: UCLA Health experts developed the Novalis® Tx focused radiotherapy system. This sophisticated technology delivers precise radiation that destroys pituitary tumors while sparing healthy tissue. Novalis is the most technologically advanced system of its kind in the world.

Our specialties

Expert care starts with an accurate diagnosis. Our team uses the most advanced technologies available to deliver the right diagnosis the first time. We specialize in:

Advanced diagnostics for pituitary tumors

Our experts diagnose even the most complex pituitary tumors using sophisticated equipment and unapparelled expertise. We provide:

Hormone testing: We perform blood tests that measure levels of specific hormones in the body. Our experts evaluate the results, which help us diagnose tumors and other health conditions.

Pituitary function testing: To diagnose pituitary tumors and neuroendocrine disorders, we offer highly specialized tests that look for certain pituitary deficiencies. These tests go beyond standard hormone evaluations, enabling us to deliver the most accurate diagnosis and effective treatments.

Minimally invasive techniques for pituitary tumors

Our team of neurosurgeons and neuroendocrinologists come together to perform leading-edge procedures that require less recovery time than traditional surgery. We focus on reducing or eliminating scars using innovative techniques. Our surgeons were some of the first in the nation to use these procedures. 

Targeted radiation for pituitary tumors

Some pituitary tumors can’t be treated with surgery. UCLA Health experts use sophisticated technology to destroy these tumors with targeted radiation therapy. This focused treatment spares healthy surrounding tissues and delivers excellent outcomes.

Pituitary tumor conditions we treat

Our doctors treat many conditions that result from pituitary tumors, including:

Acromegaly and gigantism: Rare disorders that cause the body to produce too much growth hormone

Apoplexy: Bleeding inside a pituitary tumor

Pituitary adenomas: Noncancerous tumors in the pituitary gland, as well as conditions that result from them, such as Cushing’s syndrome (Cushing’s disease)

Craniopharyngiomas: Noncancerous tumors that develop near the pituitary gland

Nelson’s syndrome : A rare disorder that can develop after the pituitary gland is removed

Prolactinoma: A condition that results from a tumor on the pituitary gland, causing the body to produce too much of the hormone prolactin

Rathke’s cleft cyst : Noncancerous cysts that grow near the base of the brain and the pituitary gland

Thyrotropinoma (TSHoma): A pituitary tumor that releases a thyroid-stimulating hormone, causing the thyroid to become overactive

Pituitary and skull base tumor treatments we offer

Our team has pioneered several techniques and therapies that have redefined the way doctors across the country treat pituitary and skull base tumors. We focus on delivering the best possible outcome while reducing scarring, pain, side effects and recovery time. Some of the procedures we offer include:

Endoscopic surgery for pituitary tumors

We use a revolutionary technique called the expanded endonasal approach (EEA) to remove pituitary tumors without a facial incision. Our surgeons perform this procedure through the nose. We use an endoscope, which is a long narrow tube with a camera and tiny tools.

Neurosurgeons and sinus (ear, nose and throat) surgeons work together to perform this procedure. UCLA Health surgeons were among the first in the country to use this approach.

You can usually go home a day or two after surgery. Benefits of this minimally invasive surgery include less time in the hospital and faster recovery. 

Endoscopic surgery for skull base tumors

Our highly skilled surgeons also use an endoscope to remove tumors in the front section of the skull base. We use this procedure to remove sinonasal tumors (growths on the nasal cavities and sinuses) while avoiding healthy tissues nearby, such as the brain and eyes.

These procedures also allow us to treat life-threatening cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leaks in the brain. CSF leaks can result from brain trauma. To perform these intricate procedures, our surgeons collaborate with:

  • Ophthalmologists
  • Neurologists
  • Ear, nose and throat specialists

Keyhole technique

UCLA Health neurosurgeons are specially trained to perform the keyhole technique for pituitary tumors that can’t be removed through the nose. This highly complex surgery is called a minimally invasive craniotomy. Our surgeons use an endoscope to access the tumor from the side of the skull. They make a small incision in the eyebrow to make the scar less noticeable.

Novalis® shaped beam stereotactic radiation therapy

The Novalis system, which was developed by UCLA Health experts, is the most advanced of its kind in the world. This revolutionary system delivers targeted radiation to destroy pituitary and skull base tumors.

Over the course of several treatments, UCLA Health specialists send radiation directly to the tumor. The treatments concentrate the radiation in a specific area and spare healthy brain tissue. It’s a safe, noninvasive alternative to surgery.

Meet our team

Our nationally recognized team of experts includes neurosurgeons, head and neck skull base surgeons, neuroendocrinologists and stereotactic radiosurgery specialists. We have specialized training and experience diagnosing and treating pituitary tumors and skull base tumors.

Pituitary Neuro-Endocrinology

Colleagues in

Adult Endocrinology

Pediatric Endocrinology

Neuroradiology-Diagnostic Pituitary Imaging

Neuroradiology-Interventional: Inferior Petrosal Sinus Sampling



Harbor-UCLA Pituitary Tumor Program

Contact us

We treat pituitary tumors using the latest innovations in minimally invasive procedures. To connect with an expert in the pituitary tumor program, call 310-825-5111.

Find your care

We treat pituitary tumors using the latest innovations in minimally invasive procedures. To connect with an expert in the pituitary tumor program, call 310-825-5111.