Cushing’s disease

What is Cushing’s disease?

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Cushing’s disease are adenomas that secrete adrenocorticotropin (ACTH) or ACTH-secreting adenomas, causing a high level of cortisol, a stress hormone. Patients with Cushing’s disease experience symptoms such as weight gain (especially upper body obesity, a round face, and increased fat behind the neck); easy bruising; purple or pink stretch marks over the abdomen, thighs, buttocks, arms and breasts; and weak bones that are prone to fracture. 

Women develop excessive hair growth on face, neck, chest, abdomen and thighs, and have irregular menses. Men develop decreased fertility and/or libido. Other signs and symptoms include severe fatigue, weak muscles, high blood pressure, high blood glucose, increased thirst and urination, irritability, anxiety and depression.

Why rely on Washington University to treat Cushing’s disease?

Our dedicated Washington University Pituitary Center provides a multidisciplinary experience with comprehensive evaluation and treatment for a variety of pituitary disorders and conditions. Washington University neurosurgeons are recognized as regional and national leaders for the treatment of pituitary tumors like Cushing’s disease. 


Neurosurgeons and other specialists in the Washington University Pituitary Center provide a full range of treatments, including minimally invasive endoscopic tumor removal, open surgical techniques when needed, medical therapies, and radiation-based therapies, including Gamma knife radiosurgery, proton beam therapy, and fractionated radiation therapy. 

The Center also runs several cutting-edge clinical trials to discover new treatments and advance the field. The collaborative surgical team, consisting of neurosurgery and otolaryngology, uses an advanced intraoperative MRI system that provides precise imaging of the tumor and maximizes the extent of safe tumor removal.