Cranial Conditions

Colloid Cyst

Colloid Cyst

Did you know that even though they are present at birth, colloid cysts are usually diagnosed later in life?

What is a Colloid Cyst?

A colloid cyst is characterized by a buildup of thick gelatinous fluid enclosed within a cyst situated in the brain. Typically located in front of the third ventricle of the brain, just behind the foramen of Munro—a skull base opening—the cyst is lined with epithelial cells. While some may be small and asymptomatic, larger cysts can induce symptoms. Although they may be present from birth, symptoms often manifest later in life.

What causes a Colloid Cyst?

Colloid cysts, although existing from birth, are uncommonly diagnosed until later in life. They are considered remnants of embryonic structures formed during brain development.

Symptoms and Diagnosis

While smaller cysts may not provoke symptoms, larger ones can lead to headaches and obstruct cerebrospinal fluid flow. Discovery often occurs incidentally during scans, with some patients experiencing early morning headaches, nausea, vomiting, short-term memory loss, and difficulty walking. Diagnosis typically relies on brain CT scans to locate and assess cyst size and contents, occasionally supplemented by MRI scans. Lumbar puncture tests should be avoided.

How are Colloid Cysts treated?

Surgical intervention is typically necessary if hydrocephalus develops or if clinical deterioration results from cyst-induced cerebrospinal fluid obstruction. Treatment involves draining or decompressing the cyst and its complete removal, with various surgical approaches available based on individual cases. Despite generally favorable recovery post-treatment, complications such as epilepsy, infection, memory loss, and hemiplegia (weakness on one side of the body) may arise from surgical procedures.

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