Arachnoid Cyst: An arachnoid cyst is a fluid-filled sac that can develop between the surface of the brain and the cranial base or on the arachnoid membrane. Most cases begin during infancy, but sometimes the onset of symptoms may be delayed until adolescence. Some of the symptoms of a large cyst may be headaches, seizures, hydrocephalus, increased cranial pressure, developmental delay, behavioral changes, weakness or paralysis on one side of the body, lack of muscle control, head bobbing, and visual impairment.
Causes: Most arachnoid cysts are present at birth and while the specific cause is unknown, researchers believe they occur during development of the central nervous system. Arachnoid cysts can develop in adults as a result of brain surgery or injury.
Possible complications: Arachnoid cysts can sometimes be associated with genetic disorders such as Cockayne syndrome and Menkes syndrome.
Treatment: Smaller cysts that are causing no symptoms are normally just observed for changes. Larger cysts that are putting pressure on the brain and causing symptoms may require surgery.
Prognosis: Children with small cysts that cause no symptoms typically lead healthy lives. If larger cysts are treated early, the prognosis is usually very good and symptoms are resolved. If left untreated, severe, permanent brain damage can occur.
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