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Surg Neurol Int. 2012;3:67. doi: 10.4103/2152-7806.97534. Epub 2012 Jun 19.

Pre- and postoperative magnetic resonance imaging appearance of the normal residual pituitary gland following macroadenoma resection: Clinical implications.

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Division of Neurosurgery, Jewish General Hospital, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.



To assess the relationship between the preoperative magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) appearance of the normal residual pituitary gland (NRPG) and pituitary functional outcome following transsphenoidal resection of pituitary macroadenomas.


We retrospectively reviewed the medical records of 100 consecutive patients with a pituitary macroadenoma, who underwent transsphenoidal resection. The preoperative configuration of the displaced NRPG was stratified as superior, superolateral or lateral. The extent of postoperative restitution of the NRPG was divided into four groups: Group 1 - normal residual gland or almost normal; Group 2 - more than 50% restitution; Group 3 - less than 50% of the normal residual gland; and Group 4 - barely visible or absent residual gland. The pre- and postoperative NRPG appearance was correlated with pituitary functional status.


Preoperatively, the NRPG was identifiable in 79 patients, with extrasellar displacement in 53%. The displacement pattern was superior in 8%, superolateral in 32%, and lateral in 58% of the patients. If the NRPG was displaced laterally, the ipsilateral cavernous sinus was not invaded by the pituitary macroadenoma. Partial or complete pituitary function was lost in 6 / 23 (26.1%) patients with superior or superolateral displacement of the NRPG, compared to only 1 / 36 (2.8%) patients without superior displacement of the NRPG (P = 0.025). Progressive postoperative reconstitution of the NRPG was related to the preservation of the pituitary hormonal axis (Pearson Chi-Square P < 0.001).


Progressive displacement of the NRPG preoperatively, and lack of restitution of the NRPG on postoperative MRI appeared to correlate with the postoperative pituitary functional loss.


Endoscopic resection; MRI; macroadenoma; pituitary gland; transsphenoidal surgery

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