How are arachnoid cysts treated?
If arachnoid cysts are small, they generally do not require treatment. But if they begin to press on the brain or spinal cord, treatment is necessary to alleviate symptoms.
Surgical treatment for arachnoid cysts
Surgery to treat arachnoid cysts is aimed at draining the fluid from the cyst or puncturing a hole in the arachnoid membrane, which forms the sac. Types of surgery for arachnoid cysts include:
- Needle aspiration or burr hole to drain the cyst (cyst may recur)
- Neurosurgery to drain the cyst, which may lead to scarring, or to remove the membrane
- Placement of a shunt to drain cerebrospinal fluid, which is a simple procedure but may lead to complications
What are the potential complications of arachnoid cysts?
Early detection and treatment of arachnoid cysts will help prevent symptoms from developing. If the cyst is allowed to grow, it may put pressure on the brain and spinal cord, leading to permanent neurological complications. Complications of untreated arachnoid cysts can be serious, even life threatening in some cases. You can help minimize your risk of serious complications by following the treatment plan you and your health care professional design specifically for you. Complications of arachnoid cysts include:
- Brain damage
- Failure to thrive in infants and children
- Hydrocephalus (fluid buildup in the skull)
- Permanent nerve damage including paralysis
- Seizures and tremors
NINDS arachnoid cysts information page. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/arachnoid_cysts/arachnoid_cysts.htm. Accessed May 4, 2011.
Arachnoid cysts. UCLA Neurosurgery. Conditions and Treatments http://neurosurgery.ucla.edu/body.cfm?id=1123&ref=7&action=detail. Accessed May 4, 2011.
What are arachnoid cysts?
Arachnoid cysts are fluid-filled sacs that develop between the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) and the arachnoid membrane, one of three protective membranes that surround the central nervous system. Arachnoid cysts are filled with cerebrospinal fluid, the fluid that protects and nourishes the brain and spinal cord.... Read more about arachnoid cysts introduction
What are the symptoms of arachnoid cysts?
Small arachnoid cysts are usually symptomless and may not require treatment. If arachnoid cysts grow significantly, they may cause symptoms, such as headache, weakness and fatigue. In serious cases, symptoms may become life threatening. Serious symptoms of arachnoid cysts include seizures, developmental problems, sensory or motor impairment, and hydrocephalus (fluid buildup in the skull). The symptoms of arachnoid cysts depend on which part of the brain they affect.... Read more about arachnoid cysts symptoms
What causes arachnoid cysts?
Arachnoid cysts develop when cerebrospinal fluid, the fluid that surrounds and nourishes the brain and spinal cord, fills sacs that develop in the arachnoid mater, one of the layers of tissue that surrounds the brain. Often, arachnoid cysts are present at birth. These are called primary arachnoid cysts and are related to developmental abnormalities. Secondary arachnoid cysts can develop because of infection or surgery of the brain or spinal cord and are uncommon.... Read more about arachnoid cysts causes