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Hassan H. Amhaz, Roukoz B. Chamoun, Steven G. Waguespack, Komal Shah and Ian E. McCutcheon

Rathke cleft cysts (RCCs) are benign cystic lesions of the sella that arise from the remnants of Rathke pouch. Although most are asymptomatic, symptoms can result from mass effect and commonly include headache, endocrinopathy, or visual field disturbance. Although asymptomatic patients undergo conservative treatment, patients with symptoms are typically treated surgically. The authors report 9 patients with symptomatic cystic sellar lesions and imaging characteristics consistent with an RCC; in all cases there was spontaneous involution of the lesions, and in 5 of 7 patients presenting with headache the symptom resolved. Spontaneous involution of an RCC may be more common than the paucity of prior reports would suggest, especially because the natural history of both symptomatic and asymptomatic RCCs is poorly understood. The potential for spontaneous involution, together with the clinical course of the patients reported here, supports a conservative approach for patients with symptomatic RCCs presenting solely with headache.