Idiopathic intracranial hypertension

Case contributed by Dr Olumuyiwa Ifedayo Ajayi


Chronic headache for routine MRI study. No visual or hormonal disturbances.

Patient Data

Age: 55 years
Gender: Female

The sella is enlarged and completely occupied by cerebrospinal fluid. The remnant of the pituitary gland is compressed against the sellar wall.

The infundibulum traverses the enlarged sella to reach its floor where residual pituitary tissue is present.

There is prominence of the subarachnoid space around the optic nerves on T2.

The supra and infratentorial brain compartments do not demonstrate abnormal signal intensity or contrast enhancement.

Case Discussion

Prominence of subarachnoid space around the optic nerves alongside sella turcica enlargement due to cerebrospinal fluid accumulation with a traversing pituitary infundibulum (features indicative of empty sella) are imaging findings supportive of idiopathic intracranial hypertension in middle-aged obese females after excluding other causes of raised intracranial pressure (ICP).

Although often incidental, the “empty” sella turcica can reflect chronically elevated ICP. It is particularly common in the setting of idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH).

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Case information

rID: 69273
Published: 6th Jul 2019
Last edited: 4th Oct 2020
Inclusion in quiz mode: Included
Institution: Clinix Healthcare

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