Sella Turcica Location in the Skull

The sella turcica (also called the hypophyseal fossa or pituitary fossa) is a midline saddle-shaped depression in the sphenoid bone that is lined by the dura mater. Although it is a reasonably tiny area, it is an extremely handy piece of genuine estate in the brain bereason it forms the bony seat for the pituitary gland which it homes and partly encloses. One of the main factors for imaging the sella turcica is that it is a home window to the pituitary, a pea-sized gland also that is regularly dubbed the grasp endocrine gland bereason of the major duty it plays in regulating crucial body attributes. Sellar components are quickly demonstrated by a number of radiographic planes and angles. Radiology techs need to be conscious of the anatomy of this region and also correct radiographic angles and also patient placing techniques to demonstrate the sella turcica and also neighboring structures accurately.

You are watching: The sella turcica is best described as

Many disease processes originating inside and external the cranium cause radiographic transforms in the pituitary fossa or sella turcica. These radiographic alters are valuable diagnostic aids for a variety of endocrine disorders. For instance, enlargement of the sella turcica or distortions in its form and contour might be regarded pituitary pathology. The sella turcica is situated deep within the cranium however can be demonstrated on a number of projections offered in skull radiography. This picture of the skull (through temporal and parietal bones removed) mirrors the location of the sella in red.

Anatomy of the Sella Turcica

The anterior, posterior, and also inferior wall surfaces of the sella turcica are bony while the lateral walls and also roof are made of dura that slings in between the anterior and posterior clinoid procedures. The dural roof of the pituitary fossa has actually fenestrations for the infundibulum. The terms sella turcica and also pituitary fossa are regularly provided synonymously, however in fact the pituitary fossa has 4 parts:

Tuberculum sellae (anterior)Doramount sellae (posterior)Diaphragma sellae (superior)Sella turcica (inferior)

In enhancement to the pituitary gland also, the pituitary fossa includes the pituitary vessels, the anterior and also posterior intercavernous sinprovides, and cerebrospinal liquid. Surrounding anatomical structures incorporate the sphenoid sinus, clivus, brainstem, basilar artery, infundibulum, optic chiasm, hypothalamus, and also cavernous sinus. In normal people, the sella turcica is less than 15 mm lengthy and also much less than 12 mm deep.


Radiographic Signs Associated through Pathology of the Pituitary Gland

Changes in and about the sella turcica can reflect countless intracranial pathologies, not limited to the pituitary gland also. Here are some of the prevalent radiographic findings in the sella turcica and associated pathologic conditions:

Enlargement of the sella turcica associated via empty sella syndromeSmall sella turcica associated via pituitary insufficiencyDistortion in shape and contour linked with pituitary tumorsBony density of the margins through thinning checked out in empty sella syndromeErosions in the floor or lateral wall surfaces because of aneurysms or chronic boosted intracranial pressureThickening of the tuberculum or clinoid processes as a result of meningioma of the sella turcicaSclerosis of the sellar floor associated through nasopharyngeal carcinoma or craniopharyngiomaFat or calcifications in the intrasellar, suprasellar or parasellar area might be indicative of germ cell tumors or craniopharyngiomaEggshell calcification patterns may be demonstrated in the existence of aneurysmsPathological Conditions of the Sella Turcica

Empty Sella SyndromeThis is a rare disorder in which an enlarged or malformed sella turcica is partly filled with CSF and also contains a tiny pituitary gland (partially empty sella) or the pituitary is not visualized (totally empty sella). The condition deserve to occur as a main disorder (idiopathic) or secondary to head trauma, following treatment for pituitary tumors, or in association via benign intracranial hyperstress and anxiety (pseudotumor cerebri). Many kind of people through empty sella syndrome are asymptomatic, although tbelow are comes to about hormone deficiencies. The hallnote radiographic finding is, as the name argues, an empty sella turcica. The pituitary tproblem is mainly replaced by CSF. On lateral skull X-ray, the appearance cannot be identified from pituitary masses, such as macroadenoma. An enlarged fossa is watched through thinning of the margins. The picture below reflects a T2-weighted MRI in a patient via empty sella syndrome.


Pituitary AdenomasThese are major tumors of the pituitary gland and also are a prevalent form of intracranial neoplasm. They are virtually constantly benign with no malignant potential. They are classified as pituitary microadenomas (less than 10 mm in size) and also macroadenomas (more than 10 mm in size) and also existing different imaging and surgical difficulties. Patients with pituitary adenomas current either as a result of symptoms related to hormonal imbalance or as a result of mass effect on surrounding frameworks, a lot of frequently the optic chiasm. The major imaging modality for pituitary microadenomas is MRI with a sensitivity of approximately 90 percent. Pituitary macroadenomas are watched on plain radiographs as masses occurring from the gland and also generally extending superiorly. Cavernous sinus invasion is regularly checked out through prolactin-secreting tumors. Bilateral indentation of the remarkable part of the fossa (diaphragma sellae) gives a characteristic figure-of-eight, snowman, or dumbbell configuration, which is a feature that aids differentiation from meningiomas of the pituitary fossa.

Non-Pituitary Tumors of the Sellar RegionNon-pituitary sellar tumors such as schwannomas, hemangioblastomas, primary sellar melanomas, and also cavernous angiomas might clinically mimic pituitary adenomas or other sellar tumors.

CraniopharyngiomasThese relatively benign tumors aincrease commonly in the sellar/suprasellar area. Patients frequently existing via symptoms such as headache, visual difficulties, hormonal inequalities, and also behavior readjust due to frontal expansion. Imaging features depfinish on the tumor kind. Adamantinomatous tumors are huge via a lobulated contour, solid and also cystic components, and stippled peripheral calcifications. Papillary craniopharyngiomas are spherical and also solid, lacking a significant cystic component, and also calcifications are rare.

Pituitary ApoplexyThis is an acute syndrome with clinical signs and also symptoms including headache, alteration in mental standing, visual deficits, and also oculomotor palsies. In a big percentage of instances there is an linked pituitary macroadenoma current, yet rarely, apoplexy deserve to occur in a healthy and balanced gland. Radiographic functions incorporate an enlarged gland through macroscopic hemorrhage and bordering edema.

Intrasellar AneurysmsAneurysms that job into the pituitary fossa are linked via radiological features such as erosion of the lateral wall of the sphenoid sinus and filling defects in the cavernous sinus. Distinguishing features that suggest pituitary tumor (fairly than aneurysm) include complete erosion of the fossa, bilateral displacement of the cavernous sinsupplies, and soft tconcern opacity in the sphenoid sinus.

Rathke Cleft CystThis is a remnant of a fetal link in between the nasopharynx and hypothalamus which obliterates throughout normal breakthrough. This benign cyst is typically intrasellar once small yet may extend to the suprasellar location when it grows.

Radiography of the Sella Turcica

In the previous numerous years, examination of the pituitary and sellar area via radiographic imaging has undergone significant advance. Computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) have largely reinserted simple radiography, cerebral pneumography, and also angiography as a result of a superior ability to delineate soft tconcerns. MRI is the modality of choice for the review of sellar and also parasellar lesions. Nonethemuch less, X-ray remains a useful tool that deserve to yield useful diagnostic information around pathology in this region. Level radiography might be offered for screening purposes or to identify calcifications and/or terrible alters of the sella turcica and also surrounding bony structures. The sella turcica is ideal demonstrated on lateral radiographs of the skull. The floor have the right to be visualized on angled frontal radiographs, such as the Caldwell check out.

Radiographic Projections of the Sella Turcica

Skull Lateral Supine: A appropriate or left non-angled lateral check out of the skull demonstprices details of the cranium on the side closest to the IR. The sella turcica and doramount sellae are visualized in profile on this projection. In a appropriately positioned lateral skull X-ray, the line extending from the external canhence of the eye to the external auditory meatus is perpendicular to the table and the anterior and also posterior skull is visualized.


Skull PA Axial (Caldwell View): This is a caudally angled occipito-frontal forecast that demonstrates the floor of sella turcica. In a appropriately positioned Caldwell estimate, the IR is perpendicular to the orbitomeatal line (OML) and also the X-rays pass at an angle of 15 levels from behind the head and also leave at the nasion.

See more: In Hypothesis Testing, The Tentative Assumption Is That, Hypothesis Testing

Video Credit : Jeremy Enfinger

Skull PA Axial (Haas View): This is an occipito-frontal forecast that is angled 25 degrees cephalad to the orbitomeatal line (OML). The patient sits or stands encountering an upideal Bucky via the forehead and also nose poignant the IR. The neck is flexed to bring the OML perpendicular to the IR. This projection have the right to also be done through the patient susceptible. The midsagittal plane is aligned perpendicular to the Bucky and also the rays are angled at 25 levels cephalad to the OML. The patient’s head should not be rotated or tilted. This view demonstprices the dorsum sellae in the shadow of the foramen magnum.