Empty-sella syndrome is a disorder that is rare and is characterized by malformation or enlargement of sella turcica structure in the head. Sella turcica is a depression that is saddle-shaped and is located at the sphenoid bone (base of skull) where the pituitary gland resides. The sella turcica that is malformed is filled up with cerebrospinal fluid, either completely or partially. This result in the pituitary gland being flattened and compresses which means that sella turcica has an empty appearance.


Majority of the people suffering from empty-sella syndrome don’t have related symptoms. Occasionally, pituitary dysfunction or headaches may occur. This condition can occur as a prime disorder, whose cause is idiopathic (unknown), or as a minor disorder, where it occurs as the result of an underlying disorder or condition i.e. a pituitary trauma or tumor in the pituitary area.

An individual suffering from empty-sella syndrome may not display any symptoms. Possible symptoms include:

  • Abridged sexual desire (low libido)
  • Irregular menstruation
  • Impotence (erectile dysfunction)
  • Headaches
  • Low energy, fatigue
  • Nipple discharge

Symptoms differ from one person to another and are determined by the cause of the syndrome as well the age.


Prime empty-sella syndrome develops when the arachnoid layer which covers the outside of the brain bulges down to the sella which in turn outs pressure on the pituitary.

Minor empty-sella syndrome results if the sella is unfilled; this is when the pituitary gland gets damaged by:

  • Surgery
  • Radiation therapy
  • A tumor

A damaged pituitary gland causes other body hormones to be defective, these include:

  • Ovaries
  • Adrenal glands
  • Thyroid
  • Testicles


This condition is often diagnosed during a CT or MRI scans of the brain and head. Function of the pituitary is typically normal.

The health practitioner can carry out tests to ensure that the pituitary gland is functioning normally.

In some instances, tests to check the brain pressure are carried out, including:

  • Spinal tap (Lumbar puncture)
  • Retina examination by an ophthalmologist


1) For prime empty-sella syndrome:

There isn’t any treatment in cases where the function of the pituitary is normal.

Medication may be describes to treat hormone levels that aren’t normal.

2) For minor empty-sella syndrome:

Treatment basically involves the replacement of the absent hormones.

In some instances, surgery may be required to restore sella turcica.

Prognosis of empty-sella syndrome

Prime empty-sella syndrome doesn’t result in health problems, and it doesn’t have an effect on life expectancy.

When Should You Seek Medical Help?

Seek medical attention if you develop symptoms linked to the pituitary gland such as impotence or menstrual cycle.



Empty-sella syndrome treatment is determined by the doctor and is mainly based on:

  • Severity of the condition
  • Your medical history, present state of health
  • Age
  • Your preference or opinion
  • Expectations concerning the disease treatment
  • Your tolerance to certain therapies, procedures and medications


If the aren’t any serious symptoms of the condition, and if the gland isn’t enlarged, treatment isn’t really necessary for the empty-sella disease itself. Your doctors will advice you on the most appropriate treatment method to follow.