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Arachnoid Cysts

Arachnoid cysts are sacs that are filled with cerebral spinal fluid that form in the brain or spine; they are not tumours. Arachnoid cysts may grow and some will shrink but most will stay the same size. The majority of arachnoid cysts are found coincidentally on a scan done for another reason and will not become symptomatic or require surgical intervention.

What are the symptoms of arachnoid cysts?

The symptoms caused by arachnoid cysts depend on the location and size of the cyst. Some of the symptoms can be headaches, nausea/vomiting, lethargy, seizures and vision issues.

Treatment of arachnoid cysts

A neurosurgical team will work with you and assess the best treatment option for your child. Treatment most often is not required. If treatment is required, it may include the following:

A cystoperitoneal shunt is a procedure that drains the cyst and relieves the pressure in the brain.
A cyst fenestration is a procedure where the walls of the cyst are opened up into the normal parts of the brain.

Surgery may not be necessary if the neurosurgical team suspects that the symptoms are not actually caused by the cyst. Yearly MRIs monitor for drainage in the cysts.


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