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JAMA. 1990 May 23-30;263(20):2772-6.

The 'incidentaloma' of the pituitary gland. Is neurosurgery required?

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Department of Medicine II, University of Cologne, Krankenhaus Merheim, West Germany.


We describe a series of 18 patients with an intrasellar mass incidentally discovered by computed tomography or magnetic resonance imaging. The average size of the mass was 13 mm, with a range from 5 to 25 mm. Initial ophthalmologic examination revealed bitemporal hemianopia in 2 patients. Results of routine endocrine testing showed partial hypopituitarism in 5 patients and growth hormone hypersecretion without signs and symptoms of acromegaly in 1 patient. Four patients underwent neurosurgery. Histologically, one chondroid chordoma and three pituitary adenomas were found. In the remaining 14 patients treated conservatively, repeated computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging revealed no significant change in tumor size at the time of follow-up (median, 22 months). Our results suggest that the "incidentaloma" of the pituitary gland is a benign condition that does not necessarily require neurosurgical intervention.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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