5 doctors weighed in:

What can a MRI show on pituitary glands? My wife is going to get an MRI done to examine her pituitary gland. If there is something wrong with her hypothalamus instead, would the MRI also show that?

5 doctors weighed in
Dr. Michael Ginsburg
Radiology - Interventional
2 doctors agree

In brief: Yes

Pituitary gland mris are used to discover tumors of the pituitary gland.
These are usually benign. Parts of the brain including the hypothalamus are also seen. Since some pituitary tumors grow and expand into the brain, the nearby brain structures are always included in the study. Some centers include the MRI of brain with pituitary if its the first study.

In brief: Yes

Pituitary gland mris are used to discover tumors of the pituitary gland.
These are usually benign. Parts of the brain including the hypothalamus are also seen. Since some pituitary tumors grow and expand into the brain, the nearby brain structures are always included in the study. Some centers include the MRI of brain with pituitary if its the first study.
Dr. Michael Ginsburg
Dr. Michael Ginsburg
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Dr. Stanley Schwartz
Internal Medicine - Endocrinology
1 doctor agrees

In brief: Growths in pituitary

Occasionally, tiny glands = 'empty sella' can also show abnormalities in hypothalamus- strokes, growths.

In brief: Growths in pituitary

Occasionally, tiny glands = 'empty sella' can also show abnormalities in hypothalamus- strokes, growths.
Dr. Stanley Schwartz
Dr. Stanley Schwartz
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Dr. Geoffrey Rutledge
Internal Medicine

In brief: MRI

Mri scans are excellent at showing detailed brain anatomy and certain kinds of pathology such as masses, tumors, hemorrhage (bleeding), infection, or inflammation.
The hypothalamus is located very close to the pituitary, so a detailed pituitary study will also include a good look at the hypothalamus. If there is a major abnormality such as a tumor involving either structure, it should be visible on the mri. However, there are some abnormalities or diseases of these structures that may not be visible on the MRI because they are too small to be detected by imaging. For example, there may be an abnormality at a cellular or microscopic level that affects the endocrine function of these brain regions but does not produce a visible structural abnormality.

In brief: MRI

Mri scans are excellent at showing detailed brain anatomy and certain kinds of pathology such as masses, tumors, hemorrhage (bleeding), infection, or inflammation.
The hypothalamus is located very close to the pituitary, so a detailed pituitary study will also include a good look at the hypothalamus. If there is a major abnormality such as a tumor involving either structure, it should be visible on the mri. However, there are some abnormalities or diseases of these structures that may not be visible on the MRI because they are too small to be detected by imaging. For example, there may be an abnormality at a cellular or microscopic level that affects the endocrine function of these brain regions but does not produce a visible structural abnormality.
Dr. Geoffrey Rutledge
Dr. Geoffrey Rutledge
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