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Arachnoid Cysts of the Head and Spine in Children Homepage

This page was last updated on May 9th, 2017



Ira Bowen, B.A.

Mark Krieger, M.D.

Section Editor

Shlomi Constantini, M.D.

Editor in Chief

Rick Abbott, M.D.


Arachnoid cysts are relatively rare cerebrospinal lesions that result from a splitting of the arachnoid membrane. The space created becomes filled with a fluid similar to CSF (18). The pathogenesis of arachnoid cysts is not well understood, although many theories try to account for it. These cysts are associated with developmental anomalies and result in clearly defined symptoms. Treatment, however, is fairly standardized.

Key Points

  • Diagnosis: The increasing use and quality of CT and MRI scans has led to an increase in the recognition and subsequent treatment of arachnoid cysts. Many are discovered incidentally and do not require treatment.
  • Surgery: Preferred treatments are shunting of the cysts or cyst fenestration; each treatment has its own risk/benefit profile.
  • Recovery and management: The success of treatment is varied, depending on the presentation and procedure, with periodic monitoring required in many cases.

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