The sella turcica, which means Turkish chair, or saddle in Latin, is an area found on the body of the sphenoid bone that contains a saddle-shaped depression for the containment of the pituitary gland. The sella turcica is a centrally located feature of the middle cranial fossa that is bounded by the anterior clinoid processes, antero-laterally, and the posterior clinoid processes, postero-laterally. Other related structures of the middle cranial fossa are: the lesser wing of the sphenoid bone, the optic canals, or optic foramina, the sphenoidal crest, or sphenoidal jugum, and the prechiasmatic sulcus, anteriorly; the greater wings of the sphenoid bone, the foramen ovale, the foramen rotundum, and the temporal bone, laterally; and the petrous ridge of the temporal bone, postero-laterally.
The sella turcica can be divided into three distinguishable parts: the tuberculum sellae, the dorsum sellae, and the hypophysial fossa. The tuberculum sellae, or ‘horn of saddle’ in Latin, is the anterior and slightly elevated portion of the sella turcica found directly posterior to the prechiasmatic sulcus and optic foramina. The anterior clinoid processes lie on either side of the tuberculum sellae. The dorsum sellae, or ‘back of saddle’ in Latin, is found posteriorly on the sella turcica, and is a prominently elevated structure that gives rise to the posterior clinoid processes on its supero-lateral angles. The dorsum sellae is continuous posteriorly with the clivus, a structure of the posterior cranial fossa. The hypophysial fossa, also called the pituitary fossa, is a saddle-shaped depression found in the area between the tuberculum sellae and dorsum sellae. Note that hypophysis is the latin term for pituitary gland. The hypophysial fossa is the deepest part of the sella turcica and contains the pituitary gland.
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