CNS tumor
CNS cysts
Arachnoid cyst

Author: Eman Abdelzaher, M.D., Ph.D. (see Authors page)

Revised: 21 August 2017, last major update February 2012

Copyright: (c) 2002-2017, PathologyOutlines.com, Inc.

PubMed Search: CNS arachnoid cyst

Cite this page: Abdelzaher, E. Arachnoid cyst. PathologyOutlines.com website. http://www.pathologyoutlines.com/topic/cnstumorarachnoidcyst.html. Accessed December 16th, 2017.
Definition / general
  • Benign subarachnoid accumulation of CSF of congenital origin (Rev Neurol 2004;39:1161)
  • 1% of intracranial masses
  • Arachnoid cysts may be discovered in utero (by ultrasound screening) or be discovered during childhood or adulthood
Sites
  • Arise within both cranial and spinal meninges
  • Expand at expense of brain or spinal cord
  • Favored intracranial sites include middle fossa near temporal lobe and cerebellopontine angle
Etiology
  • Congenital lesions that arise from reduplication or splitting of leptomeninges
  • Sporadic or associated with other malformations or diseases
Clinical features
  • Depends on size and location
  • Symptoms more common in middle fossa cysts; include headache and seizures
Radiology description
  • MRI distinguishes between CSF contents and lipid rich contents of epidermoid and dermoid cysts
Radiology images

Images hosted on other servers:

MR: arachnoid cyst

CT: left temporal lobe cyst

Various images

Case reports
Treatment
  • Surgery if symptomatic
Clinical images

Images hosted on other servers:

Cyst of left temporal lobe

Arachnoid cyst

Gross description
  • Variable size but may be vary large
  • Thin transparent wall with clear, colorless fluid
  • Cyst is distinct from leptomeninges and dura
Microscopic (histologic) description
  • Cyst wall formed of delicate fibrous connective tissue lined by meningothelial cells (diffuse or focal)
Microscopic (histologic) images

Images hosted on other servers:

Thin cyst wall

Meningothelial cells

Fibrous wall highlighted by Masson trichrome stain

Positive stains
  • Meningothelial cells are positive for EMA
Negative stains