Learn About Gigantism

What is the definition of Gigantism?

Gigantism is abnormal growth due to an excess of growth hormone (GH) during childhood.

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What are the alternative names for Gigantism?

Pituitary giant; Overproduction of growth hormone; Growth hormone - excess production

What are the causes of Gigantism?

Gigantism is very rare. The most common cause of too much GH release is a noncancerous (benign) tumor of the pituitary gland. Other causes include:

  • Genetic disease that affects the skin color (pigmentation) and causes benign tumors of the skin, heart, and endocrine (hormone) system (Carney complex)
  • Genetic disease that affects the bones and skin pigmentation (McCune-Albright syndrome)
  • Genetic disease in which one or more of the endocrine glands are overactive or form a tumor (multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 or type 4)
  • Genetic disease that forms pituitary tumors
  • Disease in which tumors form on the nerves of the brain and spine (neurofibromatosis)

If excess GH occurs after normal bone growth has stopped (end of puberty), the condition is known as acromegaly.

What are the symptoms of Gigantism?

The child will grow in height, as well as in the muscles and organs. This excessive growth makes the child extremely large for his or her age.

Other symptoms include:

  • Delayed puberty
  • Double vision or difficulty with side (peripheral) vision
  • Very prominent forehead (frontal bossing) and a prominent jaw
  • Gaps between the teeth
  • Headache
  • Increased sweating
  • Irregular periods (menstruation)
  • Joint pain
  • Large hands and feet with thick fingers and toes
  • Release of breast milk
  • Sleep problems such as obstructive sleep apnea
  • Thickening of the facial features
  • Weakness
  • Voice changes
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What are the current treatments for Gigantism?

For pituitary tumors, surgery can cure many cases.

When surgery cannot completely remove the tumor, medicines are used to block or reduce GH release or prevent GH from reaching target tissues.

Sometimes radiation treatment is used to decrease the size of the tumor after surgery.

Who are the top Gigantism Local Doctors?
Highly rated in

University Of Liège

Liege, WAL, BE 

Albert Beckers is in Liege, Belgium. Beckers is rated as an Elite expert by MediFind in the treatment of Gigantism. He is also highly rated in 38 other conditions, according to our data. His top areas of expertise are Hypothalamic Tumor, Pituitary Tumor, Acromegaly, and Gigantism.

Highly rated in

University Of Torino

Turin, IT 10126

Alessandro Mussa is in Turin, Italy. Mussa is rated as an Elite expert by MediFind in the treatment of Gigantism. He is also highly rated in 31 other conditions, according to our data. His top areas of expertise are Macroglossia, Beckwith-Wiedemann Syndrome, Gigantism, and Hemihyperplasia.

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Highly rated in

University Of Liège

Liege, WAL, BE 

Adrian Daly is in Liege, Belgium. Daly is rated as an Elite expert by MediFind in the treatment of Gigantism. He is also highly rated in 24 other conditions, according to our data. His top areas of expertise are Gigantism, Pituitary Tumor, Hypothalamic Tumor, and Acromegaly.

What is the outlook (prognosis) for Gigantism?

Pituitary surgery is usually successful in limiting GH production.

Early treatment can reverse many of the changes caused by GH excess. Long-term effects on bones, joints, and the heart are common.

What are the possible complications of Gigantism?

Surgery and radiation treatment may lead to low levels of other pituitary hormones. This can cause any of the following conditions:

  • Adrenal insufficiency (adrenal glands do not produce enough of their hormones)
  • Diabetes insipidus (extreme thirst and excessive urination; in rare cases)
  • Hypogonadism (body's sex glands produce little or no hormones)
  • Hypothyroidism (thyroid gland does not make enough thyroid hormone)
When should I contact a medical professional for Gigantism?

Contact your provider if your child has signs of excessive growth.

How do I prevent Gigantism?

Gigantism cannot be prevented. Early treatment may prevent the disease from getting worse and help avoid complications.

Endocrine glands
What are the latest Gigantism Clinical Trials?
Compassionate Use of Metreleptin in Previously-Treated Patients With Generalized Lipodystrophy
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Multi-center Observational Study on the Use of a Human Bone Graft in Epiphysiodesis
What are the Latest Advances for Gigantism?
Successful treatment of pituitary gigantism.
Clinical Characteristics and Management of Patients With McCune-Albright Syndrome With GH Excess and Precocious Puberty: A Case Series and Literature Review.
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Case Report: Liraglutide for Weight Management in Beckwith-Wiedemann Syndromic Obesity.
Who are the sources who wrote this article ?

Published Date : May 13, 2021
Published By : Brent Wisse, MD, Board Certified in Metabolism/Endocrinology, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

What are the references for this article ?

Katznelson L, Laws ER Jr, Melmed S, et al; Endocrine Society. Acromegaly: an endocrine society clinical practice guideline. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2014;99(11):3933-3951. PMID: 25356808 www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25356808/.

Melmed S. Acromegaly. In: Jameson JL, De Groot LJ, de Kretser DM, et al, eds. Endocrinology: Adult and Pediatric. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 12.

Melmed S. Pituitary masses and tumors. In: Melmed S, Auchus, RJ, Goldfine AB, Koenig RJ, Rosen CJ, eds. Williams Textbook of Endocrinology. 14th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 9.