The determination of the pituitary gland, optic chiasm, and intercavernous distance measurements in healthy subjects according to age and gender

Folia Morphol (Warsz). 2020;79(1):28-35. doi: 10.5603/FM.a2019.0058. Epub 2019 May 20.


Background: This paper was undertaken to determine the morphometry of pituitary gland diameter, pituitary gland height, intercavernous distance, optic chiasm diameter and optic chiasm height in skulls of Turkish population aged between 18 and 60 years.

Materials and methods: It was a retrospective study in which 292 subjects were included 187 females and 105 males, ranging from 18 up to 60 years. Subjects underwent brain magnetic resonance imaging in the Radiology Department. Statistical analysis was performed with SPSS 21.00 programme. ANOVA test, χ2 test, and Pearson correlation analysis were used to determine the relation and significance between measurements and age group. The p < 0.05 value was considered as significant.

Results: The groups were divided into five groups according to age. The overall means and standard deviations of the measurements were: pituitary gland width, 13.09 ± 1.99 mm; pituitary gland height, 4.91 ± 1.10 mm; intercavernous distance, 15.93 ± 3.05 mm; optic chiasm width, 12.82 ± 1.27 mm; and optic chiasm height, 2.80 ± 0.49 mm in females, respectively whereas, the same measurements were 12.96 ± 1.74 mm; 4.79 ± 0.95 mm; 16.08 ± 3.11 mm; 13.13 ± 1.37 mm; 2.86 ± 0.70 mm in males, respectively. Height of the pituitary gland reached a maximum in the age group of 18 to 20 years in both females and males and there was a decrease in the pituitary gland height in the subsequent age groups.

Conclusions: Knowledge of the variation in the size of pituitary gland, intercavernous distance and optic chiasm is important to evaluate the dimensions of these structures for clinical and pathological processes.

Keywords: intercavernous distance; morphometry; optic chiasm; pituitary gland.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Healthy Volunteers
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Optic Chiasm / anatomy & histology*
  • Pituitary Gland / anatomy & histology*
  • Sella Turcica / anatomy & histology
  • Turkey
  • Young Adult