Arachnoid cysts are congenital benign fluid collections within the arachnoid membrane-one of the 3 membranous layers that cover the brain and the spinal cord. The cyst is filled with a fluid similar to cerebrospinal fluid (CSF).
Arachnoid cysts may occur either in the brain or along the spinal cord. Most cases present during infancy; however onset of symptoms may be delayed until adolescence when the cyst has enlarged. Intracranial arachnoid cysts are reported to account for about 1% of all intracranial space-occupying lesions. This percentage, however, has probably been underestimated as with the advent of modern imaging techniques intracranial arachnoid cysts have become more frequently detected or diagnosed.
According to their size and location arachnoid cysts may not produce any symptoms and are only discovered incidentally on MRIs of the brain performed for a variety of reasons, or they may enlarge and become symptomatic by exerting pressure on the surrounding brain or by interfering with the dynamics of the CSF circulation.
Arachnoid cysts are more common in males than females. The most frequent localization of congenital intracranial arachnoid cysts is in the middle cranial fossa, constituting more than one half of the total of reported cases. Less commonly, they occur in the sellar and parasellar regions, around the foramen magnum, between the two brain hemispheres, or along the cerebral convexities.
Primary or congenital arachnoid cysts are maldevelopmental anomalies and should be differentiated from secondary arachnoid cysts that are rare and result from a variety of such etiologies as trauma and infection.
The cyst has an incessant tendency to grow or recur but the growing mechanism is still a mystery and the mechanism by which they expand is not fully understood.
Symptoms depend on the size and location of the cyst. Very small cysts may not cause any symptoms at all and may be discovered during an unrelated exam.
Larger sized arachnoid cysts can cause a variety of neurologic symptoms, including:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Hearing and visual disturbances
- Balance problems
- Hydrocephalus (enlargement of the head due to accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid)
- Doctors usually identify larger cysts with symptoms by imaging studies as part of a neurologic exam.
- MRI is the preferred technique because these scans can reveal fluid-filled cysts as distinct from other types of cysts.
There is a wide variation in the natural course and the clinical manifestations of congenital intracranial arachnoid cysts. Nevertheless, there has also been a considerable controversy regarding the indications, choice and timing of surgical intervention.
While there is a common consensus that small cysts with minimal symptoms should be treated conservatively with regular clinical and radiological follow-up, it is also agreed that large space-occupying cysts that exert a mass effect or those causing neurological impairment require surgical intervention as the potential for hindering normal development and function of the adjacent brain in this group outweighs the risk of operative treatment.
We encourage you to educate yourself about Intervention for Arachnoid Cyst Surgery in India, and also the benefits from the right kind of Surgery before making a choice.
You can be rest assured that with Surgicure International's expertise, we bring in a wonderful experience of Surgery in India, which we have been doing so for almost a decade now.