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Other Names for this Disease
- Arachnoid cysts, intracranial
- Intracranial arachnoid cysts
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Arachnoid cysts are sacs filled with cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) that are located between the brain or spinal cord and the arachnoid membrane, one of the three membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord. Arachnoid cysts can be primary or secondary. Primary arachnoid cysts are congenital (present at birth), resulting from abnormal development of the brain and spinal cord during early pregnancy. Secondary arachnoid cysts are less common and result from head injuries, meningitis, tumors, or as a complication of brain surgery. Signs and symptoms depend on the location and size of the cyst and may include headache, nausea and vomiting, seizures, hearing and visual disturbances, vertigo, and difficulties with balance and walking. Although many affected individuals develop symptoms in the first year of life, some never develop symptoms. Whether and how to treat the condition depends on the location and size of the cyst; when treatment is recommended, it may include placing a shunt to drain the fluid; surgically removing the cyst membranes; or opening the cyst so the fluid can drain into the CSF.
Last updated: 7/11/2013
- NINDS Arachnoid Cysts Information Page. NINDS. September 16, 2011; http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/arachnoid_cysts/arachnoid_cysts.htm. Accessed 7/11/2013.
- The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) collects and disseminates research information related to neurological disorders. Click on the link to view information on this topic.
- The National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD) is a federation of more than 130 nonprofit voluntary health organizations serving people with rare disorders. Click on the link to view information on this topic.
In Depth Information
- Medscape Reference provides information on this topic. Click on the link to view this information. You may need to register to view the medical textbook, but registration is free.
- The Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man (OMIM) database contains genetics resources that discuss Arachnoid cysts. Click on the link to go to OMIM and review these resources.
- Orphanet is a European reference portal for information on rare diseases and orphan drugs. Access to this database is free of charge.
- PubMed is a searchable database of medical literature and lists journal articles that discuss Arachnoid cysts. Click on the link to view a sample search on this topic.
Selected Full-Text Journal Articles
- Hughes G, Ugokwe K, Benzel EC. A Review of Spinal Arachnoid Cysts. Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine. 2008 Apr;75(4):311-5.