Empty sella following spontaneous resolution of a pituitary macroadenoma

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15 Scopus citations


Background/Aim: Empty sella is a radiological finding characterized by the presence of arachnoid herniation into the sella, resulting in compression of the pituitary against the sella wall. The objective of this case presentation is to discuss secondary empty sella in a patient with spontaneous resolution of a pituitary macroadenoma. Methods: A case of empty sella syndrome is presented. Static and dynamic testing was performed. Etiology, pituitary function, and imaging are discussed. Results: A 69-year-old African-American woman was referred by her primary care physician for evaluation and treatment of 'hypothyroidisim'. Thyroid tests were performed because of muscle and joint tenderness and revealed low free thyroxine and normal thyroid-stimulating hormone levels. The diagnosis of secondary hypothyroidism was made, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the pituitary revealed an empty sella turcica. In retrospect, the patient had presented 11 years earlier with tinnitus, and an MRI of her auditory canals demonstrated an 'incidental' 1.5-cm pituitary tumor. No endocrine evaluation was done at that time, and neurosurgical follow-up of the pituitary tumor by serial MRIs demonstrated the genesis into empty sella. Conclusions: In our patient the natural history of her pituitary tumor was that it involuted and resulted in an empty sella. Although oftentimes speculated as a cause of empty sella, tumor involution has rarely been shown to be causative. In this instance, empty sella was associated with hypopituitarism. This case illustrates the importance of endocrine evaluation of patients with this radiological finding.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)49-52
Number of pages4
JournalHormone Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Apoplexy
  • Hypopituitarism
  • Magnetic resonance imaging, empty sella
  • Secondary hypothyroidism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology


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