Pituitary microadenomas: diagnosis with dynamic serial CT, conventional CT and T1-weighted MR imaging before and after injection of gadolinium

Eur J Radiol. 1994 Aug;18(3):191-8. doi: 10.1016/0720-048x(94)90333-6.


Purpose: The few studies comparing CT and MR in the diagnosis of pituitary microadenomas give discordant results. This prospective study compares the value of dynamic serial CT (DSCT), conventional CT (CCT), pre-Gd T1-weighted spin echo (T1SE-Gd) and post-Gd T1-weighted SE (T1SE+Gd) in the detection of pituitary microadenomas.

Methods: The value of CT and MR was assessed in 17 cases, with the surgical confirmation as reference. The CTs and MRs were independently and blindly evaluated by two neuroradiologists. Because the finding at MR and/or CT influenced the selection of patients for surgery, the positive predictive value was calculated. The sensitivity calculation applies only for a specific group of postsurgical patients with positive CT and/or MR (marked with an asterisk for these reasons).

Results: In this study, the highest sensitivity* (88% and 82%, respectively, for observers I and II) was achieved by DSCT. The T1SE-Gd and T1SE+Gd (evaluated separately) were slightly inferior (sensitivity* of 76% for observer I). The combination of T1SE-Gd with T1SE+Gd improved the sensitivity* to 94% and 82% respectively, for observers I and II. There was also moderate improvement of sensitivity* by combination of DSCT with conventional CT (94% for observer I).

Conclusion: These results suggest that rapid injection of a large amount of contrast conjointly with a fast scanning through the pituitary is crucial for the confident detection of microprolactinomas. Taking into account the similar results of the combination DSCT + CT and T1SE-Gd + T1SE+Gd in the detection of microprolactinomas, high field MRI is the first step modality in the evaluation of presumed hypophyseal hyperprolactinemia.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adenoma / diagnosis*
  • Adenoma / diagnostic imaging*
  • Adenoma / surgery
  • Adrenocorticotropic Hormone / metabolism
  • Artifacts
  • Contrast Media*
  • Gadolinium*
  • Humans
  • Image Enhancement / methods*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Observer Variation
  • Pituitary Gland / diagnostic imaging
  • Pituitary Gland / pathology
  • Pituitary Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Pituitary Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Pituitary Neoplasms / surgery
  • Probability
  • Prolactinoma / diagnosis
  • Prolactinoma / diagnostic imaging
  • Prolactinoma / surgery
  • Prospective Studies
  • Sella Turcica / diagnostic imaging
  • Sella Turcica / pathology
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Single-Blind Method
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / methods*


  • Contrast Media
  • Adrenocorticotropic Hormone
  • Gadolinium