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Suprasellar Tumors

Suprasellar masses are neoplastic, vascular, congenital, or infectious/inflammatory in origin. Suprasellar masses present with a variety of neurologic or endocrine dysfunctions depending on their site of origin and mass effect on adjacent structures.

The suprasellar cistern is a cerebrospinal fluid filled space between the top of the pituitary and bottom of the hypothalamus.  The pituitary stalk normally courses through this space to enter the pituitary gland and is critical for the normal operation of the pituitary.  

If the pituitary stalk is affected, one can develop hypopituitarism including hypothyroidism, hypoadrenalism, hypogonadism, growth hormone deficiency and diabetes insipidus. This is why any mass lesion present in the suprasellar cistern can have profound effects on the endocrine system. The optic chiasm can also be compressed resulting in compromise of peripheral vision.  

There are many different disorders that can involve the suprasellar cistern including benign and malignant tumors, metastatic disease, cysts, abscesses, infiltrative and inflammatory processes, aneurysms, harmatomas and an ectopic posterior pituitary.  Not uncommonly, pituitary adenomas extend from the sella turcica (the bony cavity that houses the pituitary gland) into the suprasellar cistern resulting in compression of the pituitary stalk and optic chiasm.  Individuals who develop visual field compromise and/or peripheral field defects should be suspected of having a lesion in the suprasellar cistern.  

Treatment depends upon the underlying cause but often requires surgical decompression.

 

Programs + Services


Neuroendocrine and Endocrine Neoplasia Clinic

The Neuroendocrine and Endocrine Neoplasia Clinic at Tufts Medical Center in Boston provides care for patients with hypothalamic, suprasellar and pituitary disorders.
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Neuroendocrine and Pituitary Program

The Neuroendocrine and Pituitary Program at Tufts Medical Center in Boston cares for patients with hypothalamic, suprasellar and pituitary disorders, like pituitary adenomas.
More information about programs and services

Doctors + Care Team

Carl B. Heilman, MD

Carl B. Heilman, MD

Title(s): Neurosurgeon-in-Chief; Chairman of Neurosurgery; Professor, Tufts University School of Medicine
Department(s): Neurosurgery
Appt. Phone: 617-636-5860
Fax #: 617-636-7587

Meningiomas, acoustic neuromas, skull base surgery, pituitary surgery, Chiari surgery

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Ronald M. Lechan, MD, PhD
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Ronald M. Lechan, MD, PhD

Title(s): Chief, Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism; Co-Director, Hypothalamic and Pituitary Disease Center; Professor, Tufts University School of Medicine
Department(s): Medicine, Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
Appt. Phone: 617-636-5689
Fax #: 617-636-4719

Hypothalamic disease, pituitary disease, disorders of the thyroid, adrenal disease, islet cell tumors

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Adel M. Malek, MD, PhD

Adel M. Malek, MD, PhD

Title(s): Chief, Division of Neurovascular Surgery; Professor, Tufts University School of Medicine
Department(s): Neurosurgery
Appt. Phone: 617-636-8200
Fax #: 617-636-7587

Aneurysms, arteriovenous malformations, dural fistulas, subarachnoid hemorrhage, intracranial atherosclerosis, arterial dissection

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James Kryzanski, MD

James Kryzanski, MD

Title(s): Chief, Division of Epilepsy Surgery; Co-Chief, Division of Spinal Surgery; Assistant Professor, Tufts University School of Medicine
Department(s): Neurosurgery
Appt. Phone: 617-636-8585
Fax #: 617-636-7587

Epilepsy neurosurgery, skull base surgery, pituitary surgery, neurovascular surgery, minimally invasive spine surgery, neurosurgical disorders in patients with achondroplasia, neurosurgical disorders in patients with Down syndrome

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John E. Mignano, MD, PhD

John E. Mignano, MD, PhD

Title(s): Radiation Oncologist; Clinic Director; Associate Professor, Tufts University School of Medicine
Department(s): Radiation Oncology, Pediatric Radiation Oncology
Appt. Phone: 617-636-6161
Fax #: 617-636-4513

Oncologic consultation for general radiotherapy and Gamma Knife, pediatric radiation oncology

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Julian K. Wu, MD

Julian K. Wu, MD

Title(s): Associate Chairman, Department of Neurosurgery; Chief, Division of Neurosurgical Oncology; Neurosurgery Residency Program Director; Professor, Tufts University School of Medicine
Department(s): Neurosurgery
Appt. Phone: 617-636-4500
Fax #: 617-636-7587

Neuro-oncology, Gamma Knife radiosurgery, meningiomas, pituitary tumors, gliomas, brain metastasis, trigeminal neuralgia

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Thomas R. Hedges III, MD

Thomas R. Hedges III, MD

Title(s): Director, Neuro-Ophthalmology Service; Co-Director, Electrophysiology Service; Director, Neuro-Ophthalmology Fellowship Program; Professor, Tufts University School of Medicine
Department(s): Ophthalmology
Appt. Phone: 617-636-5488
Fax #: 617-636-7029

Neuro-ophthalmology

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