Last reviewed by Dr. Raj MD on January 12th, 2022.
What is an Arachnoid Cyst?
This is a fluid-filled sac that develops between the arachnoid membrane and your central nervous system, which includes your spinal cord and brain. Your arachnoid membrane is just one protective membranes that surround your spinal cord and brain, also known as your central nervous system. The are two other protective membranes which are called the dura mater and pia mater. Normally the onset of these types of arachnoid cysts occur before the person turns twenty years old. You will find them more often in men than you would in women and is a rare disorder.
Arachnoid Cyst Symptoms
If the arachnoid cysts are small they usually do not cause any symptoms but if they begin to become larger, you may or may not start to see symptoms. These symptoms can happen every once in awhile or on a daily basis. These symptoms can at times be severe. What symptoms a person has depends on the location and size of the arachnoid cysts.
Some of the early symptoms of these arachnoid cysts may include:
- Vertigo or dizziness
- Having a headache
- Lethargy or malaise
- Nausea that may or may not be accompanied by vomiting.
As the arachnoid cysts grow larger they can start to put pressure on your brain, which can lead to serious symptoms.
Some of the later symptoms of arachnoid cysts may include:
- Having changes in hearing.
- Failure to thrive or having developmental delays especially in infants and children.
- Having difficulty hearing.
- Head bobbing or nodding.
- Having impaired coordination or balance.
- Changes in vision or loss of vision.
- Seizures, spasms, or twitching of your muscles.
- Having an enlargement of the head or cranial deformation, usually in children.
There are some instances in which arachnoid cysts can be life threatening so if you develop either of these symptoms you should seek immediate medical attention.
- Having seizures
- Having the worse headache ever in your life
Arachnoid Cyst Causes
The cause for these arachnoid cysts to develop is not known but what they do know is that when the cerebrospinal fluid fills the sacs that are developing in the arachnoid mater arachnoid cysts will usually form. This fluid is the one that nourishes and surrounds the spinal cord and brain. Many times this type of cysts is present when the baby is born but sometimes the onset is not until a child enters adolescence. This type of arachnoid cysts is referred to as primary arachnoid cysts. This is the type that is related to abnormalities in development. It is considered a congenital disorder. Another type of arachnoid cysts is referred to as secondary arachnoid cysts. This is the type that develops because of surgery or an infection of the spinal cord or brain. This is an uncommon type of arachnoid cysts.
There are also a number of risk factors that can cause arachnoid cysts but not all people with these risk factors will develop arachnoid cysts. Some of the risks factors may include:
- Having a brain infection such as meningitis. This is an inflammation or infection of the sac around your spinal cord and brain.
- Having surgery on your spinal cord or brain.
- Having a tumor on your spinal cord or brain.
- Having an injury to your head.
If your arachnoid cysts are little the physician will usually do no treatment. If they become larger and start to put pressure on your spinal cord or brain then it will be treated.
Some of the treatments used to treat large arachnoid cysts may include:
- Using a burr hole or needle aspiration to drain the arachnoid cysts but there is a chance that the cysts may return.
- Using neurosurgery to drain the arachnoid cysts. Unfortunately this type of treatment could lead the surgeon to remove the membrane or it could lead to scarring.
- Placing a shunt to drain off the cerebrospinal fluid. This is a simple procedure but it could lead to complications.
If you do not have the large arachnoid cysts treated it could lead to complications such as:
- Damage to your brain
- Infants and children fail to thrive or develop properly.
- Having fluid build up in the skull called hydrocephalus.
- Having permanent nerve damage that can include paralysis.
- Tremors and seizures.
Treating arachnoid cysts early will help to keep the later stage symptoms from developing and causing permanent neurological problems so if your physician detects arachnoid cysts it needs to be watch so it does not grow too large and cause problems.
Arachnoid Cyst Pictures
Images, Photos and Pictures of Arachnoid Cyst…