Arachnoid cysts are cerebrospinal fluid covered by arachnoidal cells and collagen that may develop between the surface of the brain and the cranial base or on the arachnoid membrane, one of the three membranes that cover the brain and the spinal cord. Arachnoid cysts are a congenital disorder, and most cases begin during infancy; however, onset may be delayed until adolescence.
Diagnosis is principally by MRI. Frequently, arachnoid cysts are incidental findings on MRI scans performed for other clinical reasons. In practice, diagnosis of symptomatic arachnoid cysts requires symptoms to be present, and many with the disorder never develop symptoms.
Additional clinical assessment tools that can be useful in evaluating a patient with arachnoid cysts include the mini-mental state examination (MMSE), a brief questionnaire-based test used to assess cognition. Myelograms are contraindicated for people with arachnoid cysts.
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