Pituitary Innovation and Teaching

Acromegaly

Video transcript

Speaker: Dr. Michael Cusimano

The second commonest tumor that we see - the tumors produce growth hormone and if this occurs in childhood before the bones are fused, we see children grow to very tall heights - so called giants and the condition is called Gigantism. Fortunately that’s rare but it does occur.

More commonly it occurs after the bones have stopped their growth spurt and what we see is that the bones get thicker throughout the body and so you can get enlargement of the fingers or the feet or the hands. These become very large. You can get a forehead becoming prominent, the jaw becoming prominent, the nose becoming prominent. Because the jaw gets larger the teeth can spread apart and then not only do the bones get larger but the soft tissues, the skin and the underlying tissues get larger. The tongue can get larger, people can snore, they can gasp for breath or what is called sleep apnea and the internal organs get bigger too. So the heart will get larger, it can lead to pre-mature heart attacks. Polyps can grow in the colon etc. They can get skin tags, excessive sweating.

This condition is called Acromegaly. Acro coming from the Greek for finger or digit. Megaly meaning big, so the digits get big. This condition and the others have been identified for hundreds of years by physicians and date back to the old times of the ancient writers.

 

Page last updated: June 3, 2016