Magnetic resonance imaging of arachnoid cysts

Clin Imaging. 1989 Dec;13(4):281-91. doi: 10.1016/0899-7071(89)90061-2.


A retrospective review of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)-computed tomography (CT) correlation was performed in 29 patients with arachnoid cysts. Short TR, short TE spin echo (SE) pulse sequences provided the best anatomic definition whereas multiple echo long TR, TE sequences allowed comparison of the signal intensity of the cyst with that of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). Simple arachnoid cysts were isointense while neoplastic, hemorrhagic or inflammatory cysts were hyperintense relative to CSF. The CT differential diagnosis of an arachnoid cyst (depending upon its location) may include other cystic collections such as craniopharyngioma, epidermoid, astrocytoma, and chronic subdural hematoma. However, on MRI the combination of extra-axial location, morphological features, and signal intensity matching that of CSF allows one to make the diagnosis of an uncomplicated arachnoid cyst with confidence.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Arachnoid / diagnostic imaging
  • Arachnoid / pathology*
  • Brain Diseases / diagnosis
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cysts / diagnosis*
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed