Pituitary MRI: indications, preparation, conduct


MRI is the main method of examination of the pituitary gland and Sella. This is due to the fact that the pituitary gland is located in the fossa Turcica and its visualisation using other techniques is difficult. The pituitary gland is an endocrine gland that produces hormones responsible for growth and development of an organism, metabolism and reproductive function. The pituitary gland is a major organ of the endocrine system and therefore malfunctions can affect the entire body of the patient.

Indications for use of MRI of the pituitary the following:

Education of the pituitary gland can be hormonally active and inactive, that is, to secrete hormones or not. Dangerous second of them, as they proceed discreetly and only when symptoms of compression of surrounding brain tissue. Among hormoneguy tumors occupy a leading place prolactinomas – pituitary tumors that produce the hormone prolactin.

Often microadenoma not accompanied by the patient’s symptoms and is accidental finding. The appearance of the clinical picture of microadenomas depends on its hormonal activity. Education does not compress the surrounding brain tissue, due to their small size, and does not cause disorders of fields of vision or headache. The absence of symptoms and the clinical picture only happens when microadenoma does not produce hormones.

However, most of these tumors produce prolactin. Hormone microadenoma more common in women and is accompanied by weight gain, suppression of ovulation and stimulation of lactation. Contact a doctor women is forcing the menstrual cycle and infertility. Sometimes the prolactin level is so high that causes a spontaneous discharge from the breast, or discharge with pressure on the nipples. Impotence in men and discharge from the breast can also be signs of prolactinoma. Patients gain weight in the normal power mode, regardless of how much you eat.

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Risk factors for development of adenomas

The risk of microadenomas is enhanced in the presence of a genetic predisposition, pregnancy, childbirth, abortion, breastfeeding, use of oral contraceptives. Also the reason of development such pathology can be a brain injury, an infectious process.

How to identify adenomas and what factors depend on further treatment?

In the diagnosis of microadenoma, in particular prolactin, the leading role played by MRI. In some cases, use of CT, it all depends on the equipment of the clinic. If MRI show signs of microadenomas, the patient should be tested for prolactin, thyrotropic, somatotropic hormone, adrenocorticotropic, follicle-stimulating and luteinizing hormones. Depending on normal hormonal indicators or not, a follow-up treatment.

Cysts: should you be afraid of this, at first glance, a harmless illness?

Pituitary MRI is an invaluable method in the diagnosis of cyst of the hypophysis, pathology, often occurring in young people. Cysts are dangerous because only 5% of cases are accompanied by symptoms and signs cysts can be detected accidentally during examination for other disease.

Over time, the cyst grows and begins to compress brain tissue or disrupt the production of hormones. When the cyst reaches a size over 10 mm, there is a headache of a continuing nature, sometimes visual impairment, including blindness as the tumor compresses the optic nerves. Headaches caused by the cyst does not pass when changing the position of the body. The presence of such pathology can lead to development of hypothyroidism, insufficiency of the adrenal cortex, diabetes insipidus and impaired reproductive function.

Radiography of the skull in lateral projection can only show indirect signs of tumors. Signs of cystic changes with this method, the study detected only in advanced disease in the early stages of effectively MRI.

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Easy for the patient and benefits for the doctor

Preparation for magnetic resonance imaging of the pituitary gland and brain is required. But before contrast-enhanced MRI it is desirable not to eat for a couple of hours prior to the study, that was not a reaction to contrast in the form of nausea and vomiting. MRI is desirable to conduct in the first trimester of pregnancy, in the presence of an artificial pacemaker, insulin pump, surgical clips superimposed.

Pituitary MRI more clearly visualizes minute structures of the brain, allows us to consider the body in layers, to create a three-dimensional image of the pituitary gland. The bone covering part of the pituitary gland are not an obstacle for the visualization of cysts or adenomas on MRI, unlike other methods. Magnetic resonance imaging is safe for the patient and requires no training. Today, it is the only technique showing both structural and functional state of the pituitary gland and brain as a whole.