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: 1/7/2016
- Arachnoid Cysts. National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD). March 5, 2015; http://rarediseases.org/rare-diseases/arachnoid-cysts/.
- NINDS Arachnoid Cysts Information Page. NINDS. September 11, 2015; http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/arachnoid_cysts/arachnoid_cysts.htm.
- 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) has a report for patients and families about this condition. NORD is a patient advocacy organization for individuals with rare diseases and the organizations that serve them.
- Medscape Reference provides information on this topic. You may need to register to view the medical textbook, but registration is free.
- The Monarch Initiative brings together data about this condition from humans and other species to help physicians and biomedical researchers. Monarch’s tools are designed to make it easier to compare the signs and symptoms (phenotypes) of different diseases and discover common features. This initiative is a collaboration between several academic institutions across the world and is funded by the National Institutes of Health. Visit the website to explore the biology of this condition.
- Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man (OMIM) is a catalog of human genes and genetic disorders. Each entry has a summary of related medical articles. It is meant for health care professionals and researchers. OMIM is maintained by Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
- 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.
- Hughes G, Ugokwe K, Benzel EC. A Review of Spinal Arachnoid Cysts. Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine. 2008 Apr;75(4):311-5.