Under normal conditions, the dura surrounds the brain. In the region of the pituitary gland, the pituitary stalk passes through a small opening in the dura to reach the pituitary gland located in the sella turcica. Occasionally the dura will be defective and the arachnoid or fine lining surrounding the brain will herniate into the sella turcica. When it does, the spinal fluid contained within the arachnoid will pulsate within the sella. This will lead to compression of the pituitary gland and possible enlargement of the sella turcica. This produces the radiographic picture of an enlarged sella turcica with no evidence of tumor.
Causes of Empty Sella Syndrome
Empty sella occurs from a defect in the dural opening leading to the pituitary. This may occur spontaneously, after pituitary surgery, from hemorrhage into the pituitary gland, or from head trauma.
Signs and Symptoms of Empty Sella Syndrome
Generally there are no symptoms associated with empty sella syndrome. However, signs of pituitary dysfunction can occur. These include abnormal breast milk secretion or irregular or absent menstrual periods. Headaches may occasionally occur.
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Medical Content Last Updated on 07/12/2008
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