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Rathke’s Cleft Cyst

Rathke’s cleft cysts—or RCCs—are lesions located at the base of the brain. They are thought to occur when part of the embryonic Rathke’s pouch, which develops in the roof of the mouth, is leftover. Rathke’s cleft cysts are benign growths.

Rathke’s Cleft Cyst Symptoms:

Rathke’s cleft cysts often produce no symptoms. Patients with symptoms usually have a large Rathke’s cleft cyst that is pressing on other parts of the brain, like the pituitary gland.  These symptoms typically include:

  • Headaches
  • Vision problems, such as reduced visual acuity, loss of part of the visual field or peripheral vision
  • Endocrine symptoms, such as unbalanced hormones, diabetes insipidus and menstrual cycle disruptions

Rathke’s cleft cyst are rare but most commonly appear in adults. To diagnose Rathke’s cleft cyst, an MRI or CT scan is needed.

Rathke’s Cleft Cyst Treatment:

Surgery is the first step in Rathke’s cleft cyst treatment. Removal of the cyst relieves the pressure on the brain and provides a sample for diagnosis. Usually, surgical removal of the cyst is the only treatment needed. If patients have significant endocrine and hormonal symptoms, medication may be needed to manage the condition.

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We specialize in Treatment for Rathke’s Cleft Cyst

At Nashville Neurosurgery Associates, we are proud to be one of the region’s leading neurosurgical centers. Dr. Franklin is a nationally recognized expert in the care and treatment of Rathke’s cleft cyst.


Fellowship-Trained Neurosurgeon


Board-Certified Neurosurgeon

Alex Gordon

Alex was diagnosed with a pituitary tumor behind her optic nerve. Dr. Franklin performed surgery to remove her tumor, and she has returned to her normal life!

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