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Dr. Andrew Rynne
Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 50 years

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Article Home Adult and Senior Health Empty Sella Turcica

Empty Sella Turcica

Sella turcica is a saddle shaped depression in the sphenoid bone of the skull. The base of the saddle is called hypophyseal fossa which holds the pituitary gland. Sella turcica means Turkish saddle.


Empty sella syndrome is a disorder involving sella turcica, a bony structure in the base4 of skull which holds pituitary gland. Persons with empty sella turcica will have defect in the tissue barrier that normally keeps the cerebrospinal fluid around the brain separate from sella turcica. Due to this the cerebrospinal fluid increases pressure on the pituitary gland and the walls of the sella turcica. The sella turcica may enlarge and the pituitary gland may shrink.

It is mainly common in middle aged women who are overweight and who have high blood pressure. It commonly occurs after pituitary surgery, radiation therapy or infarction of a pituitary tumor.

Empty Sella Turcica

Signs and symptoms of empty sella turcica syndrome

  • Headache
  • High blood pressure
  • Leak of CSF through nose.
  • Loss of vision


  • CT scan of brain.
  • MRI brain.
  • Pituitary function test to know excess hormone or deficiency of hormone.

Types of empty sella turcica syndrome


Primary sella turcica syndrome

Secondary sella turcica syndrome


It occurs when a hole in the membrane surrounding pituitary glands allows fluid in and presses on the pituitary.

It occurs when the sella is empty when the pituitary gland is damaged by a tumor, radiation therapy and surgery.

Symptoms and signs

Erectile dysfunction, irregular or absent menstruation, low sexual desire, low libido, symptoms resulting from high prolactin levels

Partial or complete loss of pituitary gland function


CT scan of brain, MRI scan brain, and pituitary function is usually normal. Prolactin may be slightly high

CT scan brain, MRI brain


There is no requirement for the treatment if the pituitary is normal.

Medications like bromocriptine can be given to de crease the high prolactin levels

Treatment involves replacement of the hormones which is lacking.