- Colloid Cysts of the Third Ventricle
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Colloid Cysts of the Third Ventricle
Cysts are benign – that is, non-cancerous – spherical growths that develop within the body, filled with fluids such as blood or cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). Cysts are often compared to balloons, in that as their filling increases they expand in size.
Although rare, cysts that do form in the brain may create problems by placing pressure against brain tissues that control vital functions. The exact symptoms will vary depending on the location within the brain.
One type of cyst that can present problems is called the colloid cyst, after the thick, gelatinous substance it contains. It’s believed that colloid cysts develop during embryonic formation of the central nervous system and remain in place without causing issues until they grow sufficiently large to generate symptoms later in life.
Sometimes a colloid cyst causes problems with cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). CSF is a clear fluid that circulates among four spaces within the brain called ventricles and through the spinal column, providing nourishment and protecting those areas from injury. Normally, it’s absorbed into the blood and eliminated through the kidneys.
Colloid cysts that develop along the upper side of the third ventricle, in the center portion of the brain, may block the flow of CSF, causing the fluid build-up called hydrocephalus, often referred to as “water on the brain.” As the fluid backs up, it causes the ventricles to enlarge and press against key areas of the brain. Nerve connections become stretched and distorted, causing problems ranging from headache and nausea to mental impairment.
Symptoms vary with age and progression of the disorder. They’re likely to include headache, nausea and vomiting, lethargy, problems with eye movements, coordination and balance difficulties, gait disturbance, urinary incontinence, personality changes and memory loss and other cognitive problems. If left untreated, the growing pressure caused by the cyst may result in brain damage or sudden death.
Diagnosis begins with a neurological evaluation and brain imaging procedures, including ultrasound, CT and MRI scanning and pressure monitoring techniques using PRH’s fiberoptic monitoring technology, the camino.
The essential need is to relieve the pressure on the brain. The recommended approach is typically surgical removal of the cyst. An alternative may be placement of a shunt, a silicone tube about the thickness of a strand of linguine, to divert excess fluid into other parts of the body. Often, the shunt runs down the neck underneath the skin to the abdominal cavity, where the fluid ends up being excreted through the urinary system.
When surgery within the brain is need, PRH’s neurosurgeons have access to the sophisticated technology of Image-Guided Cranial Surgery, a minimally invasive procedure performed with accuracy and precision.
For More Information:
American Brain Tumor Association
The Hydrocephalus Association
National Hydrocephalus Foundation