PNA Spotlight: Dr. Paul A. Gardner
This month’s PNA Spotlight focuses on Paul A. Gardner, M.D., an Associate Professor in the Department of Neurological Surgery at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and Neurosurgical Director of the Center for Cranial Base Surgery, as well as Executive Vice Chairman for Surgical Services for the Department of Neurological Surgery at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC). Dr. Gardner studied biochemistry during his undergraduate years at Florida State University. He received his M.D. at the University of Pittsburgh, where he went on to complete his residency and then his fellowship training in endoscopic endonasal pituitary and endoscopic and open skull base surgery. He was kind enough to answer a few questions from the PNA, and his answers are below.
What inspired you to choose your career path?
I chose medicine because it allowed me to study science and also connect with and help people. Neurosurgery represented the ultimate challenge of working on the nervous system.
What is the primary focus of your work/research?
I focus on endoscopic endonasal removal of pituitary and complex skull base tumors. My research involves studying these tumors to find genetic reasons for their growth and to understand or develop other possible treatments.
What do you consider to be the future of your field?
Endoscopic surgery is revolutionizing our field. I am fortunate to have been a part of the early development of this field and enjoy teaching it to others. Other future growth will be in non-surgical treatments that can stop or reverse tumor growth, especially by recruiting the natural immune system.
What should patients know about your field/what deserves more recognition/awareness?
The impact of loss of hormone function is under-recognized. We should do all we can to avoid it and to treat it as well as possible to improve quality and quantity of life.
What would you like to convey about yourself to your patients?
I enjoy the relationships I have with patients. I want to know what is important to them and use that to guide their treatment.
Why did you get involved with the PNA and what is the extent of your involvement?
The PNA is a major avenue for patients to get information about pituitary tumors, both from doctors and other patients. I try to be as involved as possible, going to meetings when I can and helping with online content (webinars and articles) for the PNA for patient education.
Reach Dr. Gardner at (412) 647-3685.