Muhammad Omer Altaf, Mehreen Shafqat, Palwasha Gul, Hira Farooq, Kashif Siddique, Muhammad Atif Naveed



Cystic intracranial masses are one of the most common findings reported on routine imaging examination. These lesions can be neoplastic, non-neoplastic, infectious and related to congenital malformations in brain development. Most of these are benign and symptomless with no clinical outcomes but some can pose life threating risks to the patient and severe neurological symptoms needing an aggressive treatment approach. Hence the accurate diagnosis of such lesions is mandatory to predict the treatment approach and prognosis.

Besides variable history and clinical presentation, intracranial cystic masses show discrete features on radiological imaging. This wide imaging spectrum of such lesions produces a challenging situation for a radiologist to make the accurate diagnosis. It is important to pay attention to characteristic findings of each lesion along with relation with age, gender and anatomic site thus helping to narrow down the differential diagnosis.

We aim to discuss characteristic radiological features of some of the frequently occurring intracranial cystic lesions in order to improve the diagnostic approach encountered in medical practice.

Key words: Cystic lesions. Intracranial. Brain.

Full Text:



Ahlhelm F, Shariat K, Götschi S, Ulmer S. Intracranial cystic lesions. Der Radiologe. 2018 Feb;58(2):120.

Taillibert, S., Le Rhun, E. & Chamberlain, M.C. CurrNeurolNeurosci Rep (2014) 14: 481. Epelman M, Daneman A, Blaser SI, Ortiz-Neira C, Konen O, Jarrín J, Navarro OM. Differential diagnosis of intracranial cystic lesions at head US: correlation with CT and MR imaging. Radiographics. 2006 Jan;26(1):173-96.

Popescu BO. Intracranial cysts: an imagery diagnostic challenge. ScientificWorldJournal. 2013;2013:172154. Published 2013 May 2. doi:10.1155/2013/172154

Oprişan A, Popescu BO. Intracranial cysts: an imagery diagnostic challenge. The Scientific World Journal. 2013;2013

Brown JY, Morokoff AP, Mitchell PJ, Gonzales MF. Unusual imaging appearance of an intracranial dermoid cyst. American journal of neuroradiology. 2001 Nov 1;22(10):1970-2.

Brown JY, Morokoff AP, Mitchell PJ, Gonzales MF. Unusual imaging appearance of an intracranial dermoid cyst. American journal of neuroradiology. 2001 Nov 1;22(10):1970-2.

Jacków J, Tse G, Martin A, Sąsiadek M, Romanowski C. Ruptured intracranial dermoid cysts: a pictorial review. Polish journal of radiology. 2018;83:e465.

Osborn AG. Michael T. Preece. Intracranial cysts: radiologicpathologic correlation and imaging approach. Radiology.;239.

Hota P, Chadaga H, Patwari S. Case 15611 Bilateral optic pathway glioma in Neurofibromatosis type1.

Andica C, Hori M, Kamiya K, Koshino S, Hagiwara A, Kamagata K, Fukunaga I, Hamasaki N, Suzuki M, Feiweier T, Murata K. Spatial restriction within intracranial epidermoid cysts observed using short diffusion-time diffusion-weighted imaging. Magnetic Resonance in Medical Sciences. 2018;17(3):269.

Baron CA, Beaulieu C. Oscillating gradient spin‐echo (OGSE) diffusion tensor imaging of the human brain. Magnetic resonance in medicine. 2014 Sep;72(3):726-36.

Al-Holou WN, Terman S, Kilburg C, Garton HJ, Muraszko KM, Maher CO. Prevalence and natural history of arachnoid cysts in adults. Journal of neurosurgery. 2013 Feb 1;118(2):222-31.

Bosemani T, Orman G, Boltshauser E, Tekes A, Huisman TA, Poretti A. Congenital abnormalities of the posterior fossa. Radiographics. 2015 Jan;35(1):200-20.

Manjunath MN. Multiple ring enhancing lesions in brain: Neurocysticercosis or tuberculoma? An extremely unusual/uncommon radiological presentation of a common disease: Central nervous system tuberculosis. British Journal of Medical Practitioners. 2016 Mar 1;9(1):39-42.

Roessmann U, Gambetti P. Pathological reaction of astrocytes in perinatal brain injury. Acta neuropathologica. 1986 Sep 1;70(3-4):302-7.

Oommen AT, Sethy G, Minz NT, Patra J, Panda SS. Unusual presentation of porencephalic cyst in an adult. Journal of clinical and diagnostic research: JCDR. 2017 Feb;11(2):OD12.

Zacharia BE, Bruce SS, Goldstein H, Malone HR, Neugut AI, Bruce JN. Incidence, treatment and survival of patients with craniopharyngioma in the surveillance, epidemiology and end results program. Neuro-oncology. 2012 Aug 1;14(8):1070-8.

Sartoretti-Schefer S, Wichmann W, Aguzzi A, Valavanis A. MR differentiation of adamantinous and squamous-papillary craniopharyngiomas. American journal of neuroradiology. 1997 Jan 1;18(1):77-87.

Zimmerman RA, Bilaniuk LT, Gallo E. Computed tomography of the trapped fourth ventricle. American Journal of Roentgenology. 1978 Mar 1;130(3):503-6.

Elster AD, Chen MY. Chiari I malformations: clinical and radiologic reappraisal. Radiology. 1992 May;183(2):347-53.

Scotti G, Musgrave MA, Fitz CR, Harwood-Nash DC. The isolated fourth ventricle in children: CT and clinical review of 16 cases. American Journal of Roentgenology. 1980 Dec 1;135(6):1233-8.

Morioka T, Nishio S, Suzuki S, Fukui M, Nishiyama T. Choroidal fissure cyst in the temporal horn associated with complex partial seizure. Clinical neurology and neurosurgery. 1994 May 1;96(2):164-7.

de Jong L, Thewissen L, van Loon J, Van Calenbergh F. Choroidal fissure cerebrospinal fluid-containing cysts: case series, anatomical consideration, and review of the literature. World neurosurgery. 2011 May 1;75(5-6):704-8.

Kastenbauer S, Pfister HW, Wispelwey BR, Scheld WM. Brain abscess. Infections of the central nervous system. 2004:479-507.

Holmes TM, Petrella JR, Provenzale JM. Distinction between cerebral abscesses and high-grade neoplasms by dynamic susceptibility contrast perfusion MRI. American Journal of Roentgenology. 2004 Nov;183(5):1247-52.

Hota P, Chadaga H, Patwari S. Case 15611 Bilateral optic pathway glioma in Neurofibromatosis type1.

Louis DN, Perry A, Reifenberger G. von DA, Figarella-Branger D., Cavenee WK, Ohgaki H., Wiestler OD, Kleihues P., Ellison DW The 2016 World Health Organization classification of tumors of the central nervous system: A summary. Acta Neuropathol. 2016;131:803-20.

AlRayahi J, Zapotocky M, Ramaswamy V, Hanagandi P, Branson H, Mubarak W, Raybaud C, Laughlin S. Pediatric brain tumor genetics: what radiologists need to know. Radiographics. 2018 Nov;38(7):2102-22.

Barnholtz-Sloan JS, Sloan AE, Davis FG, Vigneau FD, Lai P, Sawaya RE. Incidence proportions of brain metastases in patients diagnosed (1973 to 2001) in the Metropolitan Detroit Cancer Surveillance System. Journal of clinical oncology. 2004 Jul 15;22(14):2865-72.

Radu R, Nago A, Buruian M. Radiological Diagnosis of Multifocal Hepatocellular Carcinoma. European Congress of Radiology 2015.

Greenberg MS, Arredondo N. Cerebral metastases. Handbook of Neurosurgery. New York, Thieme. 2001:463-9.

Sharma V, Prabhash K, Noronha V, Tandon N, Joshi A. A systematic approach to diagnosis of cystic brain lesions. South


  • There are currently no refbacks.

© Copyright PJR 2008-