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Diagnosis of a Pituitary Tumor

Doctors at the Johns Hopkins Pituitary Tumor Center are part of one of the largest brain tumor centers in the world. We have expertise in diagnosing and treating all types of brain tumors, including pituitary tumors.

Diagnosis of a pituitary tumor involves:

  • A physical exam: This includes questions about the patient’s symptoms, personal and family health history, physical exam, and tests of vision, and reflexes.
     
  • Scans of the brain: A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan, which uses computers to create detailed images of the brain and pituitary gland, is the most common scan used to diagnose pituitary tumors. Patients with a pacemaker or who cannot have an MRI scan for another reason will receive a computerized tomography scan (CT or CAT scan) instead. A CT scan also uses computers to create detailed images of the brain and pituitary gland.
     
  • Blood and urine tests: An endocrinologist will perform blood or urine tests to determine the levels of hormones in the patient’s body. If the patient has abnormal amounts of specific hormones, this will help doctors diagnose a specific syndrome.
     
  • A biopsy: This is a rarely needed surgical procedure to remove a small sample of the tumor for examination under a microscope.

If a pituitary tumor is diagnosed, our doctors will determine how serious it is.

For more information, contact the Pituitary Tumor Center.

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