Intrasellar Dermoid Cyst: Case Report of a Rare Lesion and Systematic Literature Review Comparing Intrasellar, Suprasellar, and Parasellar Locations

Carmine Antonio Donofrio, Giacomo Bertazzoni, Lucia Riccio, Aurora Pinacoli, Luca Pianta, Daniele Generali, Marco Ungari, Franco Servadei, Federico Roncaroli, Antonio Fioravanti

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


OBJECTIVE: Intracranial dermoid cyst (DC) is a rare benign, slow-growing lesion, most commonly arising along the midline. They can occur in the supratentorial compartment, very rarely involve the sellar region and only exceptionally are intrasellar. The aim of our study is to address the challenges in the diagnosis and management of sellar DCs.

METHODS: We performed a systematic review of sellar DCs, in keeping with the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines, and described an intrasellar DC in a 32-year-old female who presented with bilateral blurring vision.

RESULTS: The review identified 4 intrasellar, 29 suprasellar, and 28 parasellar cases. Intrasellar DCs more likely present with progressive visual impairment and pituitary hormone dysfunctions during the fifth decade of life. Suprasellar and parasellar DCs are typically diagnosed during the third decade of life because of diplopia, ptosis, trigeminal hypoaesthesia/para-esthesia or cyst's rupture. Sellar DCs are typically hypodense on computed tomography scans and contain calcifications. Magnetic resonance imaging features include T1 hyperintensity, T2 heterogeneous intensity, no restriction on diffusion-weighted images, and no contrast enhancement. Surgery is the treatment of choice. Gross total resection is achieved in 60% of intrasellar and 61.9% of suprasellar and parasellar DCs. Early postoperative complications are reported in 40.0%, 16.7%, and 23.8% of intrasellar, suprasellar, and parasellar DCs, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS: Intrasellar DCs are rare lesions typically diagnosed later than suprasellar and parasellar DCs due to their different clinical presentations. However, they should be considered in the differential diagnosis of cystic lesions of the sella, including epidermoid cysts, craniopharyngiomas, Rathke's cleft cysts, and teratomas.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)83-90
Number of pages8
JournalWorld Neurosurgery
Early online date22 Nov 2023
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2024


  • Dermoid cyst
  • Intrasellar
  • Parasellar
  • Pituitary
  • Sellar
  • Suprasellar


Dive into the research topics of 'Intrasellar Dermoid Cyst: Case Report of a Rare Lesion and Systematic Literature Review Comparing Intrasellar, Suprasellar, and Parasellar Locations'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this