OBJECTIVE: The normal anatomic relationships characteristic of the pituitary stalk area were previously thought to involve only one location. The purpose of this study was to re-evaluate the anatomic location of the pituitary stalk and possible varying locations in relation to the tuberculum sellae and dorsum sellae using morphometric evaluation and anatomic dissection of human cadaveric specimens. The surgical implications of the variations are discussed. METHODS: The calvaria were removed via routine autopsy dissections, and the brains were removed from the skull while preserving the pituitary stalk. The diaphragma sellae, tuberculum sellae, and the location of the pituitary stalk were examined in 60 human cadaveric heads obtained from fresh adult cadavers. Empty sellae were excluded. RESULTS: The openings of the diaphragma sellae averaged 6.62 +/- 1.606 mm (range, 3-9 mm). The distance between the tuberculum sellae and the posterior part of the pituitary stalk was 1 to 8 mm. The upper face of the diaphragma sellae appeared flat in 26 (43%), concave in 24 (40%), and convex in 6 cases (10%), with a prominent tuberculum sellae in 4 cases (7%). The location of the chiasm was normal in 47 cases (78%), with a prefixed chiasm in 3 cases (5%) and a postfixed chiasm (17%) in the 10 cases. Four cadaver specimens had prominent tuberculum sellae and other parameters were not evaluated. CONCLUSION: When opening the chiasmatic cistern, neurosurgeons should be aware about the relationship between the pituitary stalk and the surrounding structures to prevent inadvertent injury to the pituitary stalk.