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Empty sella syndrome
Other Resources UpToDate PubMed

Empty sella syndrome

Contributors: Marilyn Augustine MD
Other Resources UpToDate PubMed


A syndrome characterized by flattening or regression of the pituitary gland within the sella turcica cavity, resulting in an MRI image of an empty sella turcica. This radiological finding may be associated with normal pituitary function.  Less commonly, pituitary surgery or abnormal formation of the pituitary gland may lead to pituitary hypofunction.


E23.6 – Other disorders of pituitary gland

237722004 – Empty Sella Syndrome

Differential Diagnosis & Pitfalls

This is a radiological finding rather than a medical condition. There is no evidence that patients with the radiological finding consistently have pituitary hormone abnormalities.
  • Sheehan syndrome
  • Consequence of radiation therapy or surgery to remove or shrink the pituitary
  • History of pituitary infraction
  • Congenital abnormality of a transcription factor necessary for pituitary differentiation, such as PROP-1

Best Tests

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Last Updated:08/04/2016
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Empty sella syndrome
A medical illustration showing key findings of Empty sella syndrome : Headache
Imaging Studies image of Empty sella syndrome - imageId=8342670. Click to open in gallery.  caption: '<span>MRI demonstrating empty sella turcica.</span>'
MRI demonstrating empty sella turcica.
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