Cushing's Syndrome Surgery

Surgery is typically recommended for treating endogenous Cushing's syndrome. In the case of Cushing's disease, pituitary surgery is the first line of treatment, with a remission rate ranging from 42% to 86%.1

After pituitary surgery, it's common to feel worse before feeling better.2 It takes time for your body to adjust, and steroids are often prescribed because of the sudden drop in cortisol caused by the tumor removal.2 In most instances, your healthcare professional will taper you off of the synthetic hormone until your body can recover and can start producing normal levels of cortisol on its own.2,3

Some patients may report weight loss without a change in their diet or exercise routine.2 Although symptoms may go away after surgery, patients are advised to monitor aspects of their health in order to identify if their condition returns.

In one study, 7% of people had their symptoms return at 2 years, 11% at 3 years, and 26% at 5 years.4 Because the disease can recur, it's important to monitor your health and maintain regular appointments with your healthcare professional.2

If surgery fails or if you are not a candidate for surgery, you may require medications that lower cortisol levels or block cortisol at its site of action and/or radiate the tumor.3

Remember, every patient is different. Always consult your healthcare professional for post-op treatments and options for your particular situation. Please remember, this is a challenging disease, so communication with your healthcare professional is important.

  1. Findling JW, Raff H. Clinical review: Cushing's syndrome. Important issues in diagnosis and management. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2006;91:3746-3753.
  2. Frequently asked questions about transsphenoidal surgery for pituitary adenomas. Massachusetts General Hospital Web site. http://www.massgeneral.org/neurosurgery/services/faq_transsphenoidalsurgery_cushingdisease.aspx. Accessed April 13, 2013.
  3. Cushing's Syndrome and Cushing's Disease: Your Question's Answered. The Pituitary Society Web site. http://www.pituitarysociety.org/public/specific/cushing/cushings.pdf. Accessed April 13, 2013.
  4. Patil CG, Prevedello DM, Lad SP, Vance ML, et al. Late recurrences of Cushing's disease after initial successful transsphenoidal surgery. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2008;93:358-362.