Cushing’s Disease

Cushing’s Disease Treatment in Southern California

Cushing’s disease is a disorder of the pituitary gland in which too much adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) is produced. Overproduction of ACTH stimulates excess production of stress hormone cortisol. Cushing’s disease is a form of Cushing syndrome, the condition that results from overexposure to cortisol. Both Cushing’s disease and Cushing syndrome are named after the prominent neurosurgeon Harvey Williams Cushing, who is referred to as “the father of modern neurosurgery.” Cushing pioneered the investigation of pituitary function and dysfunction in the early 20th century.

Cusing’s disease is caused by an overproduction of cortisol, which is most often caused by a benign pituitary tumor that produces cortisol. Removing the tumor often resolves the condition.

Most symptoms of Cushing’s disease are highly suggestive of a hormonal disorder, but patients don’t always report all their symptoms, such as:

  • Disruptions in the menstrual cycle
  • Excess body hair
  • Decreased libido or other sexual dysfunction
  • Frequent bruising
  • Headache or backache
  • Muscle weakness
  • Fatigue
  • High blood pressure
  • Mood changes
  • Headache or backache
  • Bone pain
  • Acne
  • Increased thirst and urination

Cushing’s disease is diagnosed through blood test or through 24-hour urinary free cortisol collection, midnight salivary cortisol test and/or a low-dose dexamethasone suppression test to confirm excessive production of cortisol. When the disease is suspected or diagnosed, a patient will need a workup to determine what’s causing the hormonal excess. Special imaging or scans are required to produce detailed images of the brain and allow your Southern California neurosurgeons to detect the presence of a tumor.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computerized tomography (CT) scans produce detailed images of the brain and allow doctors to detect the presence of a tumor. Both of these tests are noninvasive, but they do require time in a scanner to produce tiny slices of images that are then combined into three-dimensional pictures. Sometimes the patient will need a special contrast agent in advance to increase the visibility of any abnormality found.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) – MRI shows detailed images of the brain and allow doctors to detect the presence of a tumor.
Computerized Tomography (CT Scan)- Combined CT scan produces image that clearly show the pituitary gland.

Cushing’s disease is treated surgically, by removing the pituitary tumor causing the overproduction of cortisol. In cases where surgery is not recommended, pituitary tumors may be treated with medication to suppress cortisol production, or with radiation. ONE® Brain & Spine Center® is home to an internationally recognized surgical team with advanced skills in minimally invasive procedures to remove pituitary tumors. Southern California neurosurgeon Robert Louis, MD, use the endoscopic transsphenoidal surgeryapproaches to remove pituitary tumors, with no head or facial scarring.

Minimally Invasive Surgical Treatments

  • Endoscopic Transsphenoidal Surgery- The endoscopic transsphenoidal surgical procedure uses a light called endoscope inserted into the nostril and sphenoid sinus to access and remove pituitary tumors. The term transsphenoidal literally means “through the sphenoid sinus.”

Offering the latest in innovative, minimally invasive spine procedures and orthopedic care in Southern California, the team at ONE® Brain & Spine Center® is focused on helping our patients live the best life possible while making informed decisions about their healthcare. Call (949) 383-4190 or Contact Us today for an appointment.