Evaluation of the Pituitary Gland Using Magnetic Resonance Imaging: T1-Weighted vs. VIBE Imaging.
Davis MA, Castillo M.
Department of Radiology, University of North Carolina; Chapel Hill, NC, USA
Volumetric interpolated breath-hold examination (VIBE) is used for abdominal imaging as a fast and efficient modality. Evaluation of brain lesions using VIBE is not common and its use for the pituitary gland has not yet been addressed. Our goal was to compare coronal T1-weighted (T1W) and VIBE images in patients undergoing studies of the pituitary gland. We hypothesized that, for this purpose, VIBE is superior to T1W images. T1W and VIBE images of the pituitary gland in 32 patients were evaluated. The two sequences were compared with specific attention to: contrast enhancement (gland and cavernous sinuses) and ability to view the anatomy of the cavernous sinuses. In patients with macroadenomas, visualization of the optic chiasm was also assessed. Images were rated as: VIBE being better, equal, or worse in comparison to T1W images. We also compared VIBE and T1W images specifically looking at micro/macro-adenomas and post-surgical patients. Statistical analysis was performed using chi-square statistics. Of the 32 patients, the VIBE sequence showed superior contrast enhancement in 18 patients, six were found as being equal to T1W, and in eight instances VIBE was found to be worse than T1W. These results were statistically significant (p=.02). When looking at micro/macro-adenomas and post-surgical patients specifically, there was a trend to VIBE being superior to T1W but these data were not statistically significant. Visualization of chiasm in macroadenomas was similar for both techniques. VIBE was significantly superior to T1W with respect to pituitary and cavernous sinus contrast enhancement and cavernous sinus anatomy. A trend towards VIBE being superior in the evaluation of adenomas (pre- and post-operative) was seen, but it was not statistically significant. This is likely due to the small population size.