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Rudolf Fahlbusch, Oliver Ganslandt, Michael Buchfelder, Werner Schott and Christopher Nimsky

Object. The aim of this study was to evaluate whether intraoperative magnetic resonance (MR) imaging can increase the efficacy of transsphenoidal microsurgery, primarily in non—hormone-secreting intra- and suprasellar pituitary macroadenomas.

Methods. Intraoperative imaging was performed using a 0.2-tesla MR imager, which was located in a specially designed operating room. The patient was placed supine on the sliding table of the MR imager, with the head placed near the 5-gauss line. A standard flexible coil was placed around the patient's forehead. Microsurgery was performed using MR-compatible instruments. Image acquisition was started after the sliding table had been moved into the center of the magnet. Coronal and sagittal T1-weighted images each required over 8 minutes to acquire, and T2-weighted images were obtained optionally. To assess the reliability of intraoperative evaluation of tumor resection, the intraoperative findings were compared with those on conventional postoperative 1.5-tesla MR images, which were obtained 2 to 3 months after surgery.

Among 44 patients with large intra- and suprasellar pituitary adenomas that were mainly hormonally inactive, intraoperative MR imaging allowed an ultra-early evaluation of tumor resection in 73% of cases; such an evaluation is normally only possible 2 to 3 months after surgery. A second intraoperative examination of 24 patients for suspected tumor remnants led to additional resection in 15 patients (34%).

Conclusions. Intraoperative MR imaging undoubtedly offers the option of a second look within the same surgical procedure, if incomplete tumor resection is suspected. Thus, the rate of procedures during which complete tumor removal is achieved can be improved. Furthermore, additional treatments for those patients in whom tumor removal was incomplete can be planned at an early stage, namely just after surgery.

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Andreas Stadlbauer, Michael Buchfelder, Christopher Nimsky, Wolfgang Saeger, Erich Salomonowitz, Katja Pinker, Gregor Richter, Hiroyoshi Akutsu and Oliver Ganslandt


The aim of this study was to correlate proton MR (1H-MR) spectroscopy data with histopathological and surgical findings of proliferation and hemorrhage in pituitary macroadenomas.


Quantitative 1H-MR spectroscopy was performed on a 1.5-T unit in 37 patients with pituitary macroadenomas. A point-resolved spectroscopy sequence (TR 2000 msec, TE 135 msec) with 128 averages and chemical shift selective pulses for water suppression was used. Voxel dimensions were adapted to ensure that the volume of interest was fully located within the lesion and to obtain optimal homogeneity of the magnetic field. In addition, water-unsuppressed spectra (16 averages) were acquired from the same volume of interest for eddy current correction, absolute quantification of metabolite signals, and determination of full width at half maximum of the unsuppressed water peak (FWHMwater). Metabolite concentrations of choline-containing compounds (Cho) were computed using the LCModel program and correlated with MIB-1 as a proliferative cell index from a tissue specimen.


In 16 patients harboring macroadenomas without hemorrhage, there was a strong positive linear correlation between metabolite concentrations of Cho and the MIB-1 proliferative cell index (R = 0.819, p < 0.001). The metabolite concentrations of Cho ranged from 1.8 to 5.2 mM, and the FWHMwater was 4.4–11.7 Hz. Eleven patients had a hemorrhagic adenoma and showed no assignable metabolite concentration of Cho, and the FWHMwater was 13.4–24.4 Hz. In 10 patients the size of the lesion was too small (< 20 mm in 2 directions) for the acquisition of MR spectroscopy data.


Quantitative 1H-MR spectroscopy provided important information on the proliferative potential and hemorrhaging of pituitary macroadenomas. These data may be useful for noninvasive structural monitoring of pituitary macroadenomas. Differences in the FWHMwater could be explained by iron ions of hemosiderin, which lead to worsened homogeneity of the magnetic field.