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Diseases

Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

Tarlov cysts


Other Names for this Disease
  • Sacral Tarlov cysts
  • Sacral perineural cysts
  • Tarlov cyst
  • Perineural cysts
  • Sacral neural cysts
See Disclaimer regarding information on this site. Some links on this page may take you to organizations outside of the National Institutes of Health.

Overview

Tarlov cysts are fluid-filled sacs that most often affect nerve roots in the sacrum, the group of bones at the base of the spine. These cysts don't usually cause symptoms, but when compressing nerve roots, they can cause lower back pain, sciatica (shock-like or burning pain in the lower back, buttocks, and down one leg to below the knee), urinary incontinence, headaches, sexual dysfunction, constipation, and some loss of feeling or control of movement in the leg and/or foot. Pressure on the nerves next to the cysts can also cause pain and deterioration of the surrounding bone. Asymptomatic tarlov cysts may become symptomatic following shock, trauma, or exertion that causes the buildup of cerebrospinal fluid. Current information indicates that women are more commonly diagnosed with Tarlov cysts.[1] The reason for this is unknown. Treatment depends on the symptoms and size of the cysts. Many methods have been described for treatment with variable results.[2]
Last updated: 5/25/2016

References

  1. NINDS Tarlov Cysts Information Page. National Institutes of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). June 14, 2012; http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/tarlov_cysts/tarlov_cysts.htm.
  2. Elsawaf A, Awad TE & Fesal SS. Surgical excision of symptomatic sacral perineurial Tarlov cyst: case series and review of the literature. Eur Spine J. May 6, 2016; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27154168.
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Basic Information

  • 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.
  • The Tarlov Cyst Disease Foundation has an information page on this topic. The Tarlov Cyst Disease Foundation is a volunteer-based, 501(c)(3) non-profit foundation dedicated to the research, improved diagnosis, advocacy for patients, and development of successful treatments and outcomes for symptomatic Tarlov cysts. Click on the link above to view the information page.

In Depth Information

  • 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.
  • 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 Tarlov cysts. Click on the link to view a sample search on this topic.

Selected Full-Text Journal Articles

Other Names for this Disease
  • Sacral Tarlov cysts
  • Sacral perineural cysts
  • Tarlov cyst
  • Perineural cysts
  • Sacral neural cysts
See Disclaimer regarding information on this site. Some links on this page may take you to organizations outside of the National Institutes of Health.