MRI findings in the patients with the presumptive clinical diagnosis of Tolosa-Hunt syndrome

Eur Radiol. 2003 Jan;13(1):17-28. doi: 10.1007/s00330-002-1458-3. Epub 2002 Jun 4.


The aim of this study was to present our experience in MRI diagnosis of 23 patients with the clinical findings suggesting Tolosa-Hunt syndrome (THS). Cranial MRI studies of the patients with a clinical history of at least one episode of unilateral or bilateral orbital and periorbital pain, and associated paresis of one or more of third to sixth cranial nerves, were performed on a 1.5-T MRI scanner. Whereas 5 patients had the diagnosis of THS, paracavernous meningiomas in 4 patients, pituitary macroadenomas with cavernous sinus infiltration in 3 patients, Meckel's cave neurinoma in 1 patient, and suprasellar epidermoid in 1 patient were surgically proven MRI findings. Other pathological MRI findings were leptomeningeal metastases in 3 patients, granulomatous pachymeningitis sequelae in 2 patients, and aneurysm with compression on cavernous sinus in 1 patient. Three patients had normal MRI findings. The incidence of radiologically proven diagnosis of THS among the patients with the clinical findings suggesting THS seemed to be low in our study. In conclusion, MRI is the most valuable imaging technique to distinguish THS from other THS-like entities, and permits a precise assessment, management, and therapeutic planning of the underlying pathological conditions.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Central Nervous System / pathology*
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Ophthalmoplegia / etiology
  • Ophthalmoplegia / pathology
  • Tolosa-Hunt Syndrome / diagnosis*