Endocrine System Home > Empty Sella Syndrome

Diagnosing Empty Sella Syndrome

In order to make an empty sella syndrome diagnosis, the doctor will typically ask a number of questions about a person's medical history, including questions concerning:
 
  • His or her current symptoms
  • Whether there is a recent history of any trauma or surgery
  • Whether there is a family history of any medical problems
  • Any medicines the person is taking.
     
The doctor will also usually perform a physical exam, looking for any signs of empty sella syndrome, and will order certain tests.
 
This condition is often discovered during tests for pituitary problems, when imaging tests of the pituitary gland reveals a sella turcica that appears to be empty. Tests that may be ordered to help in making a diagnosis may include a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan or computed tomography (CT) scan. An MRI or CT scan is useful in evaluating empty sella syndrome and differentiating it from other disorders that may produce a sella that appears enlarged.
 

Treatment Options

The treatment options recommended for empty sella syndrome will depend on:
 
  • The symptoms, if any, that the person is experiencing
  • The type of empty sella syndrome
  • The person's age and general health
  • Other medical conditions that are present.
     
Unless empty sella syndrome results in other medical problems, treatment is usually symptomatic and supportive, meaning treating the symptoms that may occur as a result of the condition.
 
In some cases -- such as those involving problems with vision or chronic runny nose -- surgery may be recommended. Empty sella syndrome is not a life-threatening illness.
 
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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