The "Empty Sella" in Childhood Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • The "empty sella" (ES), a common entity in adults, is so named because a cerebrospinal fluid-filled arachnoid hernia fills the pituitary fossa and compresses the pituitary gland, creating the illusion of an "empty" sella. We report our experience of ES in childhood. Our four cases represent associations with ES that have not been previously described in childhood: case 1 was associated with central precocious puberty; case 2 with secondary ES resulting from shrinkage of a prolactinoma during bromocriptine therapy; case 3 with pseudotumor cerebri; and case 4 with no significant pathology. Together, they account for approximately 1 percent of cases of radiographically enlarged sella tursica investigated here. This brings the number of cases of ES reported in children to 27. Review of these 27 cases reveals seven with local skull dysplasia and/or a familial inheritance. The remainder lacked clinical homogeneity or similarity to the common adult variety of ES. Children with ES did not exhibit the higher female preponderance reported in adults with ES. They showed a higher frequency of secondary cases (4/27), and of associated endocrine (10/15) and visual (8/17) abnormalities than is seen in adults with the "empty sella."

publication date

  • August 1984