MR imaging of pineal cysts

J Comput Assist Tomogr. 1987 Jul-Aug;11(4):586-90. doi: 10.1097/00004728-198707000-00005.


Identification of pineal cysts with imaging modalities other than magnetic resonance (MR) has been infrequent, despite a reported autopsy incidence of as high a 40%. We recently identified 15 patients in whom pineal cysts were seen on MR. These cysts ranged from 5 to 15 mm in maximum diameter. The cyst walls were thin, usually measuring less than 2 mm. The signal characteristics of the fluid within the cysts paralleled that of CSF, although it differed somewhat in signal intensity from CSF collections in which there was pulsatile motion. All lesions were midline in location. There was no significant mass effect, although mild flattening of the superior colliculi could be seen. Two cases were operated on; at operation, typical pineal cysts were found, with one containing hemosiderin-laden proteinaceous material, which accounted for its markedly higher signal intensity. It is important that this entity be recognized so that these lesions are not confused with pineal tumors.

MeSH terms

  • Cysts / diagnosis*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy*
  • Pineal Gland*