Brain, Nervous System and Mental Conditions

Arachnoid Cyst Symptoms and Diagnosis

Symptoms of Arachnoid Cyst

Most people with arachnoid cysts do not have symptoms. But an arachnoid cyst can cause problems that produce symptoms. If the cyst is getting bigger over time or if bleeding occurs into the cyst, your child may have symptoms. For example, if an arachnoid cyst continues to get bigger, it can put pressure on the surrounding parts of your child's brain. It may block the circulation of cerebrospinal fluid. Blocked cerebrospinal fluid leads to a condition called hydrocephalus, which also increases pressure inside the skull.

Symptoms of arachnoid cysts may be related to on how big the cyst is and where it is located.

If the cyst is located around the brain, your child may have some of these symptoms:

  • Headache
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Problems with hearing
  • Problems seeing
  • Intense dizziness (vertigo)
  • Problems with balance
  • Problems walking

Cysts near the spinal cord can cause:

  • Back pain
  • Tingling or numbness in the legs or arms
  • Weakness in the legs or arms
  • Problems with bowel and bladder control

Arachnoid Cyst Diagnosis

Most arachnoid cysts do not cause symptoms. Doctors often discover arachnoid cysts while examining a child for another reason, such as after a head injury. An arachnoid cyst may show up when a child has a CT (computed tomography) scan o r an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) of the brain.

If your child's doctor finds an arachnoid cyst during a CT scan, your child will come to the Neurosurgery Clinic for evaluation. In most cases, your child will have an MRI. This imaging test helps doctors tell a fluid-filled arachnoid cyst apart from other types of problems, like tumors.