MRI of pituitary abscess: Two cases and review of the literature

L. J. Wolansky, J. D. Gallagher, R. F. Heary, G. P. Malantic, A. Dasmahapatra, P. D. Shaderowfsky, N. Budhwani

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Pituitary abscesses, rare lesions, may be divided into primary and secondary types. Primary pituitary abscesses occur within a previously healthy gland, while secondary abscesses arise within an existing lesion, such as an adenoma, craniopharyngioma, or Rathke's cleft cyst. Secondary abscesses share radiologic characteristics with the lesions from which they arise. There has been no review of the MRI characteristics of primary pituitary abscesses. We report two cases and review the literature. The typical primary pituitary abscess gives the same or slightly lower signal than brain on T1-weighted images, and could be mistaken for a solid mass or presumed to represent a pituitary adenoma. Contrast-enhanced images are useful, demonstrating absence of central enhancement, suggesting a fluid or necrotic center. In one of our cases, meningeal enhancement was obvious; this has not been reported previously and may be diagnostic, when associated with a rim-enhancing pituitary mass.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)499-503
Number of pages5
Issue number7
StatePublished - 1997

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Pituitary gland, infection, abscess


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