Assessment of pituitary microadenomas: comparison between 2D and 3D MR sequences

Magn Reson Imaging. 1997;15(1):21-7. doi: 10.1016/s0730-725x(95)02008-h.


The aim of this study was to compare the diagnostic value and image quality of two different T1-weighted MR sequences in the evaluation of PRL-secreting pituitary microadenomas. Twenty-four patients with a clinical diagnosis of pituitary microprolactinoma were prospectively examined with both a 2D SE and a 3D turbo-SE T1-weighted coronal sequence, before and after intravenous contrast medium administration. Evaluation of MR images was done only on postcontrast images and considered the number of slices in which the lesions were visible and image quality, which was evaluated by both a subjective score and objective parameters (signal-to-noise and contrast-to-noise ratios). Pituitary microprolactinomas are visible in a higher number of slices in 3D TSE sequences; the subjective scores for image quality and signal-to-noise ratios were similar in both 2D and 3D sequences; the contrast-to-noise ratio was always higher in 3D sequences. In patients with hyperprolactinemia, the authors recommend using coronal 3D TSE T1-weighted sequences for evaluation of the pituitary region. 2D SE T1-weighted sequences may be considered if a shorter examination time is required (i.e., for claustrophobic patients) and in assessment or follow-up of microadenomas when a larger size lesion is clinically suspected.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Artifacts
  • Contrast Media / administration & dosage
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Gadolinium / administration & dosage
  • Gadolinium DTPA
  • Humans
  • Hyperprolactinemia / diagnosis
  • Image Enhancement / methods*
  • Injections, Intravenous
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Organometallic Compounds / administration & dosage
  • Pentetic Acid / administration & dosage
  • Pentetic Acid / analogs & derivatives
  • Phobic Disorders
  • Pituitary Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Prolactinoma / diagnosis*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Time Factors


  • Contrast Media
  • Organometallic Compounds
  • Pentetic Acid
  • Gadolinium
  • Gadolinium DTPA