Rathke's cleft cyst

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A Rathke's cleft cyst is a benign growth found on the pituitary gland.[1][2] A Rathke's pouch is an organ that begins to develop on the 24th day of fetal development. In normal development it develops into the pituitary gland's anterior lobe at six weeks of development.

Some individual's pouches don't properly develop, and leave a fluid-filled cyst.[1] In most individual with the cyst it is asymptomatic. The first Rathke's cleft cyst was detected during an autopsy in 1913.[2] Asymptomatic cysts are detected during autopsies of 2-26 percent of individuals who have died of some other cause.

Females are twice as likely as males to have a cyst.[2]

The range of sizes of the cysts is 2 to 40 mm in diameter.[2]

Symptomatic cysts can trigger visual disturbances, pituitary dysfunction and headaches.[1] Close to half of symptomatic individuals have a visual disturbance.[2] Less common symptoms include diabetes insipidus Amenorrhoea and galactorrhea.

Cysts can be detected via Computerized Tomography or Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Imaging.[1]

The treatment of choice for symptomatic cysts is drainage and taking a biopsy.[3][4] Radical excision is more dangerous, because it damages surrounding brain structures, and can cause more bleeding.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 "Rathke's Cleft Cyst". UCLA. Archived from the original on 2009-09-24. http://www.webcitation.org/query?url=http%3A%2F%2Fneurosurgery.ucla.edu%2Fbody.cfm%3Fid%3D215&date=2009-09-24. Retrieved 2009-07-27. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Omar Islam (2008-05-28). "Rathke Cleft Cyst: Overview". Web MD. Archived from the original on 2009-09-24. http://www.webcitation.org/query?url=http%3A%2F%2Femedicine.medscape.com%2Farticle%2F343629-overview&date=2009-09-24. Retrieved 2009-07-27. 
  3. Omar Islam (2008-05-28). "Rathke Cleft Cyst: Follow-up". Web MD. Archived from the original on 2009-09-24. http://www.webcitation.org/query?url=http%3A%2F%2Femedicine.medscape.com%2Farticle%2F343629-followup&date=2009-09-24. 
  4. Marcella Koch, Benjamin White, Kar-Ming Fung (2004-02-30). "A 45 year-old man with a sellar mass". Department of Pathology, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. Archived from the original on 2009-09-24. http://www.webcitation.org/query?url=http%3A%2F%2Fmoon.ouhsc.edu%2Fkfung%2FJTY1%2FCom04%2FCom403-1-Diss.htm&date=2009-09-24. Retrieved 2009-08-02.