What are the Causes of Brain Cyst and Its Treatment Options

The word cyst is derived from Greek word which means ‘Bladder’. A cyst is a closed sac consisting of either liquid, air, or a cheesy material like porridge. A true cyst is lined by an epithelium or an endothelium. Cholesterol crystals are often found in a cyst. Cysts are located in any part of the body; they can be tiny, moderate or large in size.

A Cyst can develop in any part of the brain. It can be either small or large in size. Cyst can be multiple or single. Cysts in brain can produce variety of symptoms depending on where they are located in the brain. On some occasions brain cysts are symptomatic.  Brain cysts may contain cerebrospinal fluid, tissue material etc.

There are Many Causes for Development of a Brain Cyst

Cysticercosis: Cysts caused due to larvae of the tape worm-taenia solium. Man is infected by eating raw and improperly cooked pork. The larvae released from the egg of tape worm may penetrate in the intestine of the man and enter into the circulation.

It may lodge in the brain, muscles in the skin etc. The larva dies in the brain and gets calcified into a cyst. It produces symptoms of headache, epilepsy, behavioral changes. Diagnosis is made by MRI, CT scan.

Arachnoid Cyst: an arachnoid cyst develops as a developmental defect in the cells of the fetal brain. The subarachnoid space is where the cyst develops in the brain.

Pineal Cysts: they develop on the pineal gland. The exact reason is not known but it is assumed that after puberty the pineal gland become small and can lead to a cyst formation. It usually develops in the womb during the fetal development or after puberty in young adults.

Tumor in the Brain: a tumor in the brain can be a reason for development of a cyst.

Brain injury either due to an accident or after a brain surgery can cause cysts in brain. It usually forms in subarachnoid space and therefore the cyst is referred as secondary arachnoid cyst.

Symptoms of brain cysts depend on its location inside the brain, its size and how fast the cyst is growing. However some of the common symptoms that can be seen in many of these brain cysts are:

  • Headache, it is usually due to the pressure built up in the brain stem.
  • Nausea and vomiting without any reason may indicate brain condition.
  • Double vision.
  • Abnormal gait; person finds difficulty in walking especial in a straight line.
  • Loss of memory: he may not recollect recent events or even finds difficulty in remembering past events.
  • Epilepsy.
  • Increased Sensory perception. He may not be able to bear light and noise. Sensitive to sudden changes in temperature.

What are the Treatment Process for Brain Cysts

The treatment option for brain cysts depends on many factors. The first and foremost approach for the growth is to determine whether it is a brain cyst or a tumor of the brain. Modern imaging techniques are very useful for distinguishing a tumor or a cyst in the brain, though many time doctors get confused between both. The approach is waiting and watch in the initial stage to see its growth. This is especially oriented to arachnoid cysts and pineal cysts.

In cysticercosis, usually the symptoms are relieved with medication usually prescribed. The cyst becomes calcified and small after proper medications. Rarely surgery may be required.

When the cyst interferes with circulation of the cerebrospinal fluid, it can lead to build up of pressure in the brain leading to condition called hydrocephalous. In such situation it may be necessary for the doctor to operate and put a shunt.

Sometimes the brain cyst along with the whole capsule is removed.

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