The magnetic resonance (MR) images of 28 patients with surgically confirmed pituitary adenomas were retrospectively evaluated. The examinations were performed on a 1.5-T superconducting MR system using a multisection spin-echo technique with 3-mm-thick sections and a 256 X 256 matrix. T1- and T2-weighted images were obtained in sagittal and coronal planes. The MR findings were correlated with detailed operative reports and diagrams. There were 11 microadenomas and 17 macroadenomas. Ten of the microadenomas and all of the macroadenomas were accurately localized and their extent delineated, particularly on T1-weighted coronal sections. Adenomas typically appeared hypointense on T1-weighted coronal sections. The appearance on T2-weighted images was variable, and generally the lesions were less well seen. Involvement of parasellar structures, particularly the optic chiasm and cavernous sinuses, was accurately depicted. Cyst formation and hemorrhage could be characterized in some instances. In general, there was excellent correlation between MR imaging and operative findings.