Arachnoid Cyst is one of the most common brain cysts caused by the accumulation of spinal fluid. These cysts are not considered as brain tumors. Arachnoid cysts form between the brain or spinal cord and the arachnoid membrane. These cysts are usually present at birth but sometimes result from head trauma, surgery, head infection, and more.
What is an Arachnoid Cyst?
Arachnoid cysts are one of the most common types of cysts in the brain. These cysts are usually congenital from birth (early arachnoid cysts).
Head injuries and trauma are also among the causes of secondary arachnoid cyst formation in people. These cysts are actually fluid-filled sacs and are not considered tumors.
These cysts can be caused by the detachment of the arachnoid membrane, one of the three layers of tissue that surrounds the brain and spine.
What you need to know about this cyst:
Arachnoid cysts form in one of three layers of tissue around the brain and spine.
Many arachnoid cysts are stable and do not require treatment.
These cysts are four times more common in boys than in girls.
Diagnosis of arachnoid cysts is possible by CT scan or MRI.
Treatment, if needed, involves draining the cysts from fluid through surgery or shunting.
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Arachnoid cysts are the most common type of brain cyst. They are often congenital, or present at birth (primary arachnoid cysts). Head injury or trauma can also result in a secondary arachnoid cyst. The cysts are fluid-filled sacs, not tumors.
Untreated, arachnoid cysts may cause permanent severe neurological damage when progressive expansion of the cyst(s) or bleeding into the cyst injures the brain or spinal cord. Symptoms usually resolve or improve with treatment.
If left untreated, benign cysts can cause serious complications including: Infection – the cyst fills with bacteria and pus, and becomes an abscess. If the abscess bursts inside the body, there is a risk of blood poisoning (septicaemia).
Some arachnoid cysts never present a problem, but others can cause symptoms by putting pressure on the brain. Depending on the size and location of the arachnoid cyst, symptoms can include:
Nausea and vomiting
Lethargy, including excessive fatigue or low energy
Visible lumps or protrusions from the head or spine
Hydrocephalus due to obstruction of normal cerebrospinal fluid circulation
Endocrine (hormone-related) issues, such as early onset of puberty
Involuntary head bobbing
Arachnoid cysts — even large ones — that do not cause symptoms or put pressure on the brain or spinal cord do not require treatment.
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