Diagnosis and treatment of arachnoid cysts of the posterior fossa

T. J. Haberkamp, E. M. Monsell, W. F. House, S. C. Levine, L. Piazza

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36 Scopus citations


Arachnoid cysts of the posterior fossa are rare. When arachnoid cysts are encountered, the presenting symptoms are frequently otologic, with hearing loss and imbalance occurring commonly. Three cases are presented with a previously unreported otologic symptom, that of bilateral hearing loss, which in one case was fluctuant. None of the patients had the common symptoms of unilateral hearing loss and headache. With the advent of computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging, these cysts may be readily identified, usually with diagnostic imaging alone. Unfortunately there is often a delay in diagnosis because of the vague and fleeting nature of the symptoms. Because no single diagnostic symptom pattern is able to characterize all cases, it is believed computed tomography or magnetic resonance imaging or both are indicated in patients with long-standing otologic complaints - even in the absence of unilateral symptoms. Treatment of posterior fossa arachnoid cysts primarily consists of surgical procedures designed to decompress the cyst. In this series, treatment with diuretics alone resulted in improvement of symptoms during several years of followup, with no evidence of enlargement of the cysts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)610-614
Number of pages5
JournalOtolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1990


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