Purpose: Intracranial hypertension can change the morphology of anatomical structures that are critical in the evaluation of pseudotumor syndromes. The purpose of our study was to establish the normal range of such markers of intracranial hypertension and to consider a dependency on sex, age and body-mass index (BMI).
Materials and methods: 123 persons without signs or symptoms of intracranial hypertension (63 females, 60 males, 18- 86-years-old, mean 49.5 SD17.8 years, mean BMI 25.3 SD42) were prospectively enrolled and MRI was performed at 3T. A STIR sequence in the coronal plane was used to measure the width of the optic nerve, the perioptic fluid rim and the total optic nerve sheath diameter in 4 different locations behind the eyeball. The height and width of the pituitary and Meckel's cave were also measured and the area was calculated.
Results: The mean width of the optic nerve sheath narrows significantly from anterior (mean 5.3 SD 0.6 mm) to posterior (mean 4.1 SD 0.4 mm), as does the perioptic fluid rim (mean 1.4 SD 0.3 mm vs. mean 1.0 SD 0.2 mm) and--to a lesser extent--the optic nerve itself (mean 2.4 SD 0.4 mm vs. mean 2 SD 0.3 mm, p=0.000 for all). There was no statistically relevant correlation of the width of the optic nerve sheath with age. The coronal area of Meckel's cave was independent of sex, age or BMI (mean 39 SD 9.3 mm2). The height of the pituitary differed little in women (mean 4.4 SD 0.9 mm) and men (mean 4.2 SD 0.8 mm), but we found a significant negative correlation with age in women only (r = -0.38, p = 0.01).
Conclusion: The presented typical values and their deviations serve as a basis for the evaluation of pathologies in patients suspected of having pseudotumor syndrome.