The sella turcica (Latin for Turkish seat) is a saddle-shaped depression in the body of the sphenoid bone of the human skull and of the skulls of other hominids including chimpanzees, orangutans, and gorillas. It serves as a cephalometric landmark. The seat of the saddle, the deepest part of the sella turcica known as the hypophyseal fossa, holds the pituitary gland (hypophysis).
Sella turcica and pituitary gland.
|Anatomical terms of bone|
The seat of the saddle, the deepest part of the sella turcica known as the hypophyseal fossa holds the pituitary gland (hypophysis). The sella turcica is located in the sphenoid bone behind the chiasmatic groove and the tuberculum sellae. It belongs to the middle cranial fossa. In front of the hypophyseal fossa is the tuberculum sellae.
Completing the formation of the saddle posteriorly is the dorsum sellae, which is continuous with the clivus, inferoposteriorly. The dorsum sellae is terminated laterally by the posterior clinoid processes.
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The sella turcica forms a bony seat for the pituitary gland
Empty sella syndrome is the condition of a shrunken or flattened pituitary gland.
Since the sella turcica forms a bony caudal border for the pituitary gland, a pituitary tumor usually extends upward in the rostral direction into the suprasellar region. This can result in compression of the optic chiasm, which lies on top of the pituitary, enveloping the pituitary stalk. Compression of the optic chiasm can lead to bitemporal hemianopsia, and, when there is no relevant trauma, this clinical finding is pathognomonic for a pituitary tumor.
Some pituitary adenomas can extend inferiorly, growing downward and invading the sphenoid bone and cavernous sinus. Adenomas greater than 10mm (macroadenomas) can cause remodeling of the underlying sphenoid bone altering the shape of the sella turcica.
Sphenoid bone seen from above. Sella turcica shown in red.
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