The pituitary gland, or hypophysis, is an endocrine gland about the size of a pea and weighing 0.5 grams (0.018 oz) in humans. It is a protrusion off the bottom of the hypothalamus at the base of the brain, and rests in a small, bony cavity (sella turcica) covered by a dural fold (diaphragma sellae).
The anterior pituitary (or adenohypophysis) is a lobe of the gland that regulates several physiological processes (including stress, growth, reproduction, and lactation). The pituitary gland sits in the hypophysial fossa, situated in the sphenoid bone in the middle cranial fossa at the base of the brain. The pituitary gland secretes nine hormones that regulate homeostasis.
The pituitary gland functions prominently in the control of most endocrine systems in the body. Diverse processes such as metabolism, growth, reproduction, and water balance are tightly regulated by the pituitary in conjunction with the hypothalamus and various downstream endocrine organs. Benign tumors of the pituitary gland are the primary cause of pituitary pathology and can result in inappropriate secretion of pituitary hormones or loss of pituitary function. First-line management of clinically significant tumors often involves surgical resection. Understanding of normal pituitary physiology and basic testing strategies to assess for pituitary dysfunction should be familiar to any skull base surgeon 1).
Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH)
Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH)
Luteinizing Hormone (LH)
Growth Hormone (GH)
Alpha Melanocyte-Stimulating Hormone (α-MSH)
This clinically oriented book will familiarize the reader with all aspects of the diagnosis of tumors and other disorders of the pituitary gland by means of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The coverage includes acromegaly, Cushing’s disease, Rathke cleft cysts, prolactinomas, incidentalomas, Clinically nonfunctioning pituitary adenomas, other lesions of the sellar region, hypophysitis, and central diabetes insipidus. Normal radiologic anatomy and the numerous normal variants are described, and guidance is also provided on difficulties, artifacts, and other pitfalls. The book combines concise text and high-quality images with a question and answer format geared toward the needs of the practitioner. MRI is today considered the cornerstone in the diagnosis of diseases of the hypophyseal-hypothalamic region but the relatively small size of the pituitary gland, its deep location, the many normal anatomic variants, and the often tiny size of lesions can hinder precise evaluation of the anatomic structures and particularly the pituitary gland itself. Radiologists and endocrinologists will find MRI of the Pituitary Gland to be full of helpful information on this essential examination, and the book will also be of interest to internists and neurosurgeons.
see Pituitary adenoma.