Tarlov Cyst

In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2024 Jan.


Tarlov cysts are perineural cysts between the perineurium and endoneurium, arising near the dorsal root ganglion. They can occur anywhere in the spine but most frequently around the sacral nerve roots, with S2 being the most common level. The cysts are usually filled with cerebrospinal fluid but may contain blood if there is a hemorrhagic complication. They are mostly asymptomatic but can present as chronic back pain in the sacral or coccyx area and may have radiculopathy or red flag features such as leg weakness, bowel and bladder dysfunction, and sexual dysfunction. The features may also be acute, especially if cyst complications like rupture or hemorrhage occur.

It was originally described on autopsy findings in 1938 by American neurosurgeon Dr. Isadore Tarlov.

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