Empty Sella Syndrome

Empty sella syndrome is a rare congenital (present since birth) disorder that occurs when an empty space in the brain fills with cerebrospinal fluid as a result of a deformity in the brain. Individuals with the disorder may have unusual facial features. Other symptoms (problems) may include short stature, increased bone density, headaches, and vision problems. Empty sella syndrome may also be caused by other disorders or a problem caused by some medical intervention, such as surgery. The disorder is particularly common in middle-age, obese women. Empty sella syndrome may be confused with pituitary disorders.


Unless the disorder results in other medical problems, treatment is symptomatic and supportive. In some cases, surgery may be needed.


Empty sella syndrome is not life-threatening.


The NINDS supports and conducts studies aimed at understanding neurological conditions such as empty sella syndrome. The goals of these studies are to find ways to prevent and treat these conditions.

Research is continually being done to learn more about this problem.

Provided by: The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke