Rathke’s Cleft Cyst Newport Beach & Orange County, CA

Rathke’s Cleft Cyst Treatment in Orange County

Rathke’s Cleft Cyst Removal in Orange County by Dr. LouisRathke’s cleft cysts are benign or non-cancerous formations known as a cyst, with a thin membrane filled with fluid. Rathke’s cleft cysts are benign formations and not actual tumors. The pituitary gland is composed of anterior and posterior glands. Where these two glands meet is called Rathke’s pouch. This pouch normally closes during fetal development, but sometimes a remnant persists as a cleft. If the Rathke’s pouch does not close completely, this is where a large cyst called the Rathke’s cleft cyst develops.


Rathke’s cleft cyst can develop when Rathke’s pouch does not close completely. The exterior of the cyst is a thin clear membrane while the interior is filled with fluid.
Rathke cleft cysts do not always produce noticeable symptoms. It is often left undetected and often discovered in imaging tests for other conditions. When a Rathke cleft cyst does cause symptoms, the most common are:

  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Vision problems
  • Diabetes insipidus (excessive thirst and urination)
  • milky breast discharge
To diagnose Rathke’s cleft cyst, Robert Louis, MD, who has the experience and expertise in diagnosing Rathke’s cleft cyst, will conduct thorough medical history, and neurologic exam. Standard diagnostic tests for Rathke’s cleft cyst include:

Blood tests- Blood tests can help determine what effects the cyst is having on the pituitary gland.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)or computerized tomography (CT) scan- For more detailed pictures of the brain.
Vision test- This test will help determine if the growth of a pituitary tumor has affected or impaired your sight or peripheral vision.

Rathke’s cleft cyst treatment typically requires surgical drainage and/or removal. The goal of surgery is to completely remove or drain the cyst contents while preserving pituitary function and alleviating symptoms. Removing the cyst lining is often avoided to minimize damage to the pituitary gland. Complete removal of Rathke’s cleft cyst is possible in 80-95 percent of cases, with a recurring rate of 5–15 percent over 5-10 years.

Minimally Invasive Endoscopic Transsphenoidal Surgery
Orange County neurosurgeon Robert Louis, MD, specializes in minimally invasive endoscopic transsphenoidal surgery to access, drain or remove Rathke’s cleft cyst through the natural nasal pathways. This sophisticated procedure minimizes complications, hospital time, trauma, and discomfort for patients. Dr, Louis has the specialized skills and training with this advanced technique. Read more about Endoscopic Transsphenoidal Surgery.

Robert Louis, MD, a fellowship-trained Orange County Neurosurgeon, is the Director of the Skull Base and Pituitary Tumor Program at Hoag Memorial Hospital in Orange County, California. Dr. Louis has particular expertise in the endoscopic and minimally invasive treatment of benign and malignant brain tumors, sellar and parasellar tumors, and skull base tumors.

Dr. Robert Louis specializes in minimally invasive endoscopic transsphenoidal surgery for the drainage or removal of Rathke’s cleft cyst. For appointments, please call (949) 383-4185 or Contact Us.