2021 Volume 64 Issue 2 Pages 155-161
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is the preferred imaging technique for the sellar and parasellar regions. In this review article, we report our clinical experience with MRI for hypothalamic and pituitary lesions, such as pituitary adenomas, craniopharyngiomas, Rathke cleft cysts, germinoma, and hypophysitis with reference to the histopathological findings through a review of the literature. Our previous study indicated that three dimensional-spoiled gradient echo sequence is a more suitable sequence for evaluating sellar lesions on postcontrast T1 weighted image (WI). This image demonstrates the defined relationship between the tumor and its surroundings, such as the normal pituitary gland, cavernous sinus, and optic pathway. We demonstrated the characteristic MRI findings of functioning pituitary adenoma. In growth hormone-producing adenoma, signal intensity on T2WI is important to differentiate densely from sparsely granulated somatotroph adenomas. In prolactin-producing pituitary adenomas, distinct hypointense areas in early phase on T2WI, possibly owning to diffuse hemorrhage, indicate pronounced regressions of invasive macroprolactinomas during cabergoline therapy. The two histopathological subtypes, adamantinomatous and squamous papillary craniopharyngioma, differ in genesis. Calcified tumors are mostly adamantinomatous type. On MRI, these lesions have a heterogenous appearance with a solid portion and cystic components. The solid portions and cyst wall enhance heterogeneously. Although cyst fluid of Rathke cleft cysts show variable intensities on MRI, intracystic waxy nodule can be hypointense on T2WI. The enhancing cyst wall may contain the squamous metaplasia. Cystic lesions of the sellar and parasellar areas may be difficult to differentiate on a clinical, imaging, or even histopathological basis.