Arachnoid cysts are relatively common congenital intracranial mass lesions that arise during the development of the meninges. They can be complicated by the formation of an ipsilateral chronic subdural hematoma (CSDH) after minor cranial trauma. Treatment of these coexisting conditions remains controversial. In this study the authors describe the anatomical, clinical, and neuroradiological features and outcome in a series of patients whose CSDH associated with arachnoid cysts were managed surgically by draining the hematoma alone and leaving the cyst intact. The authors based this surgical management on histological and neuroradiological observations concerning these associated medical conditions.
A series of 8 patients with CSDHs associated with arachnoid cysts underwent surgery to drain the hematoma though a bur hole. The arachnoid cyst was left intact. Postoperative follow-up included CT scanning and T1- and T2-weighted MR imaging.
Clinical, anatomical, and radiological observations suggest that because separate membranes cover arachnoid cysts and the related hematoma, arachnoid cysts remain unaffected by the subdural bleeding. In the present study, these observations received support from the neuroimaging appearances, suggesting that arachnoid cysts related to hematoma contained only blood breakdown products from the hematoma that had filtered through the reciprocal dividing membranes.
Arachnoid cysts associated with SDH are anatomically separate conditions whose neurological symptoms respond to surgical drainage of the CSDH alone.
Abbreviations used in this paper: AC = arachnoid cyst; CDSH = chronic subdural hematoma; CSF = cerebrospinal fluid.
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