Non-neoplastic pineal cysts

Michael R. Fetell*, J. N. Bruce, Allan M Burke, D. T. Cross, R. A.A. Torres, J. M. Powers, B. M. Stein

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Scopus citations


We identified 53 patients with non-neoplastic cysts of the pineal gland. In contrast to patients with pineal neoplasms, pineal cysts are usually asymptomatic. They infrequently obstruct the aqueduct to cause hydrocephalus or compress the tectum to produce the neuro-ophthalmologic signs of dorsal midbrain dysfunction. Obstructive hydrocephalus was present in only five patients (9.4%); three of them showed clinical signs of Parinaud’s syndrome. CT and MRI typically reveal a cystic mass that averages 1.6 cm in anteroposterior (A-P) diameter with calcification at the periphery and faint rim-like contrast enhancement. Sagittal MRI is the most useful diagnostic test because it shows the anatomic relationship of the cyst to the aqueduct. The mass may compress the tectum and distort the proximal aqueduct; occasionally a large cyst may occlude the aqueduct. All patients with obstructive hydrocephalus had cysts greater than 2.0 cm in A-P diameter. Nine patients had suboccipital craniotomy. In all of them, the cysts contained clear fluid and were easily removed. We advocate conservative management with clinical observation of these benign lesions that may be developmental variants of normal pineal gland.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1034-1040
Number of pages7
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jan 1 1991

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology

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