Diagnosing and Treating an Arachnoid Cyst

Some arachnoid cysts are found incidentally, meaning it is discovered on a scan done for another reason (such as after a head injury). Some arachnoid cysts may even be detected on a prenatal ultrasound. If an arachnoid cyst is not causing any symptoms, treatment may not be necessary.

Arachnoid cysts that do cause symptoms, however, need to be evaluated for treatment. The first step is an accurate diagnosis, since the symptoms may be caused by other conditions. A patient with the symptoms of an arachnoid cyst may be sent for a CT scan or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).  A specific type of MRI called diffusion-weighted MRI (dMRI) helps distinguish fluid-filled arachnoid cysts from other types of cysts.  The usual treatment for an arachnoid cyst is draining it. This surgical procedure should be done by an experienced pediatric neurosurgeon at a major medical center. (See Surgery for an Arachnoid Cyst.)

Request an Appointment | Refer a Patient

What our Patients Say

Rebecca Menachem was not making things up. By age 12 she had made so many trips to the school nurse complaining of headaches that, as she recalls now, “everyone thought I was faking sicknesses to go home.” But her migraines were real, and eventually...

Our Care Team

  • Vice Chair, Neurological Surgery
  • Director, Pediatric Neurological Surgery
Phone: 212-746-2363
  • Chief of Neurological Surgery, NewYork-Presbyterian Queens
  • Professor of Clinical Neurological Surgery
  • Co-director, Weill Cornell Medicine CSF Leak Program
Phone: (718) 670-1837
  • Vice Chair for Academic Affairs
  • Professor of Neurological Surgery, Pediatric Neurosurgery
  • Associate Residency Director
Phone: 212-746-2363
  • Victor and Tara Menezes Clinical Scholar in Neuroscience
  • Associate Professor of Neurological Surgery in Pediatrics
Phone: 212-746-2363

Reviewed by: Jeffrey Greenfield, M.D., Ph.D.
Last reviewed/last updated: June 2024

Weill Cornell Medicine Neurological Surgery 525 East 68 Street, Box 99 New York, NY 10065 Phone: 866-426-7787