Adrenocorticotropin-secreting pituitary tumor represents about 10 % of pituitary adenomas and at the time of diagnosis most of them are microadenomas. Transsphenoidal surgery is the first-line treatment of Cushing's disease and accurate localization of the tumor within the gland is essential for selectively removing the lesion and preserving normal pituitary function. Magnetic resonance imaging is the best imaging modality for the detection of pituitary tumors, but adrenocorticotropin-secreting pituitary microadenomas are not correctly identified in 30-50 % of cases, because of their size, location, and enhancing characteristics. Several recent studies were performed with the purpose of better localizing the adrenocorticotropin-secreting microadenomas through the use in magnetic resonance imaging of specific sequences, reduced contrast medium dose and high-field technology. Therefore, an improved imaging technique for pituitary disease is mandatory in the suspect of Cushing's disease. The aims of this paper are to present an overview of pituitary magnetic resonance imaging in the diagnosis of Cushing's disease and to provide a magnetic resonance imaging protocol to be followed in case of suspicion adrenocorticotropin-secreting pituitary adenoma.
- Adenoma/diagnostic imaging
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging/methods
- Pituitary ACTH Hypersecretion/diagnostic imaging
- Pituitary Gland/diagnostic imaging
- Pituitary Neoplasms/diagnostic imaging