Pituitary hyperplasia

Pituitary hyperplasia refers to the diffuse pituitary enlargement that can be physiologic in young menstruating females or pregnant/lactating women or, less commonly, secondary to end-organ failure.

The upper limit of normal pituitary height varies with age and gender:1

  • infants, children: 6mm
  • males and postmenopausal women: 8mm
  • young menstruating females: 10mm
  • pregnant/lactating women: 12mm

Nonphysiologic pituitary hyperplasia is commonly caused by an end-organ failure such as hypothyroidism 3 , Addison disease 4 and neuroendocrine tumors 5. Medications such as estrogen, GnRH analogs and antipsychotics can cause or exacerbate pituitary hyperplasia 5.

The pituitary gland can be assessed both by CT and MRI dedicated protocols, which can show:1

  • enlarged homogeneously enhancing pituitary gland with a convex superior margin
  • size : > 10mm up to 15 mm
  • maybe globular/nodular, mimicking pituitary adenoma

Only surveillance is suggested till reversal of the underlying pathological condition as pituitary hyperplasia rarely progresses 5.

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Article information

rID: 42023
Tag: cases
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Pituitary hypertrophy
  • Bulky pituitary gland
  • Globular pituitary gland

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Cases and figures

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  • Case 2
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