Craniopharyngeoma with giant cyst in a 7-year-old boy.
CMRI sagittal T1 with contrast mediumcMRI coronar T1 with contrast mediumcMRI axial T1 with contrast medium
Craniopharyngeomas and pituitary adenomas are benign tumors of the skull base, which are located in the sella turcica. They are characterized by often slow growth and may become symptomatic by displacment and compression of the pituitary gland and / or the optic chiasm. These both manifest by a change in hormone balance (often insufficiency of the anterior pituitary gland ) with inertia / tiredness / fatigue (especially due to interference with the adrenal and thyroid function) and / or vision impairment (typically a bitemporal hemianopia). In rare cases the pituitary adenomas can produce hormones (prolactin, growth hormone HGH, ACTH), this can lead to overactivity. Best known is acromegaly (gigantism), which occurs due to HGH-producing adenomas.
Symptomatic tumors of this region have to be surgically removed. Pituitary adenomas can removed trans-sphenoidal through the nasal or oral cavity. Craniopharyngiomas are usually operated transcranially, because they, unlike the more common pituitary adenomas, continue intracranially. They are bigger and more coarse, they commonly form cysts and calcifications and are more strongly connected to the surrounding structures. Although both types of tumors are benign and in the same region, they originate from different structures and must be evaluated and treated differently.
Pituitary adenomas usually occur in middle and later life, craniopharyngiomas usually before 30 years of age.