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Cushing’s Syndrome

Melissa Angulo
Ali Alaraj
Neurosurgery

Cushing's syndrome is an adrenal gland disorder that results in the overproduction of cortisol. This also can be called hypercortisolism,, and the most common cause is a noncancerous tumor. When the excessive cortisol production is due to elevated adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) levels produced by a pituitary gland tumor, it is called Cushing's disease.

The Department of Neurosurgery at UI Health offers Inferior Petrosal Sinus Sampling (IPSS) for patients with Cushing's syndrome. An outpatient procedure, IPSS provides a definitive method to determine the source of the ACTH overproduction that is causing Cushing's. IPSS can be done in patients whose noninvasive imaging may not reveal a definitive tumor.

Inferior Petrosal Sinus Sampling (IPSS)

The Department of Neurosurgery at UI Health offers Inferior Petrosal Sinus Sampling (IPSS) for patients with Cushing's syndrome. IPSS is an outpatient procedure that provides a complete method to determine the cause of ACTH overproduction that is causing Cushing's. IPSS can be done in patients whose noninvasive imaging may not reveal a conclusive benign tumor.

In IPSS, an endovascular neurosurgeon samples ACTH levels from the veins that drain the pituitary gland. The levels from the sampling are then compared with the ACTH levels in the venous blood to determine if a pituitary tumor is the cause for the overproduction of ACTH due to Cushing's syndrome. Our Endovascular Neurosurgery team works collaboratively with your Endocrinology team throughout IPSS testing.

If medically indicated, the Neurosurgery team will refer you to a UI Health Head & Neck surgeon for transsphenoidal resection of the lesion to remove the tumor.

To refer a Cushing's patient to Neurosurgery at UI Health, please contact our referral center at 312.996.1682 and request Dr. Ali Alaraj, or use our convenient online referral form.

For emergency referral call 855.455.IPAL (4725).