Our purpose was to correlate the morphological changes seen on MRI studies of the sellar region after trans-sphenoidal resection of pituitary adenomas with clinical and hormonal studies. Between January 1993 and March 1994, 16 patients with a pituitary adenoma (9 macroadenomas and 7 microadenomas) were subjected to trans-sphenoidal resection and included in a prospective study. The protocol consisted of MRI, hormonal and visual studies at the following times: immediately postoperative (1st week), 1st month, 4th month and 1st year after surgery. The evolution of the contents of the sella turcica (tumour remnant, packing material and gland tissue), effects on the infundibulum, optic chiasm, cavernous sinus and sphenoid sinus were correlated with the clinical and hormonal studies. Stabilisation of the postsurgical changes occurred by the 4th month. Tumour remnants were noted in the immediate postoperative period in macroadenomas. Compression of the infundibulum was the only reliable indicator of possible involvement. Optic chiasm compression, defined as close contact between the chiasm and the tumour, was the only morphological finding that indicated visual impairment. There was no standard repneumatisation pattern in the sphenoid sinus, since mucosal changes resembling sinusitis were one of the postsurgical changes. We found MRI not to be useful for follow-up of microadenomas.