Intracranial cysts: incidental or neurodevelopmental?

Childs Nerv Syst. 2023 Mar;39(3):775-780. doi: 10.1007/s00381-022-05724-z. Epub 2022 Nov 2.


Objectives: Intracranial cysts are fluid-filled sacs within the brain. There is a diversity of intracranial cysts with different incidences in addition to the growing awareness about comorbidities and the consequences. The present study aimed to evaluate cystic findings in children who were admitted to the department of pediatric neurology.

Methods: Children who were admitted to the Clinic of Pediatric Neurology and who had an MRI between 2016 and 2021 were evaluated. The MRI examination was performed with the pediatric epilepsy protocol. Children with primary intracranial cysts were enrolled in the study. Demographic and clinical findings were evaluated from the hospital's database and patients' files.

Results: Among the 78 patients, 36 (46.2%) were male and 42 (53.8%) were female. The mean age was 7 ± 5.4 years. The most frequent presenting complaint was a seizure (47.4%). Approximately one-quarter (28.2%) had mental and/or motor retardation. Nine (11.5%) of the children had a neuropsychiatric diagnosis. Most of the cysts were located at the midline (41%) with the majority located extra-axial (71.8%) and supratentorial (78.2%). Arachnoid cysts were observed most frequently with a percentage of 64.1%, followed by pineal cysts (15.4%). The history of seizure, epilepsy, presence of mental retardation, and neuropsychiatric problems were evaluated according to the population ratios based on z approximation in which significantly higher rates were observed among cases with intracranial cysts.

Conclusion: Intracranial cysts should be taken into consideration for comorbid pathologies, especially in the childhood period. Early evaluation in patients with intracranial cysts for developmental delay and neuropsychiatric problems is important.

Keywords: Comorbidity; Intracranial cysts; Magnetic resonance imaging; Pediatric.

MeSH terms

  • Arachnoid Cysts* / diagnostic imaging
  • Arachnoid Cysts* / pathology
  • Central Nervous System Cysts* / complications
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Epilepsy* / complications
  • Epilepsy* / etiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / adverse effects
  • Male
  • Seizures / complications