Treating Colloid Cysts with Minimally Invasive Keyhole Surgery

Colloid cysts are fluid-filled sacs that develop on the brain. The condition can cause severe headaches, and in rare cases, death. Dr. Peter Nakaji uses minimally invasive keyhole treatment to safely remove these growths with a minimal risk of side effects. An internationally recognized, board-certified neurosurgeon in Phoenix, AZ, Dr. Nakaji provides unparalleled care in a comfortable and compassionate environment.

About Colloid Cysts

Colloid cysts are extremely rare. In fact, only about three people in one million develop the condition. Although they are benign in nature, colloid cysts can grow large enough to inhibit or completely obstruct the flow of cerebrospinal fluid. These types of cysts are smooth and spherical, and are filled with a gel-like substance called colloid, which can be solid or fluid. Colloid cysts gradually increase in size over time and patients are typically diagnosed in their 30s or 40s.

X-ray of healthy brain versus colloid cyst

In extreme cases, colloid cysts can completely block the flow of cerebrospinal fluid.

There is currently no known cause of colloid cysts. However, the embryologic nature of the tissue has led experts to believe they are formed during fetal development. There are no known genetic links, and the condition does not seem to be associated with cell phone use, radiation, or prenatal care.

Symptoms and Diagnosis

The slow growth rate of a colloid cyst allows the brain to compensate and adapt over time. For this reason, most patients do not even realize they have the condition, as there are typically no warning signs. Because symptoms are often not present, the majority of patients with colloid cysts are diagnosed through an incidental finding. Typically, this means the cyst shows up on an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) or a CT (computed tomography) scan that was performed for another reason. In cases where the cerebrospinal fluid is completely blocked, obstructive hydrocephalus can occur. This condition can cause severe headaches, a decrease in memory function, and vomiting.

While MRI scans provide the most accurate diagnoses, CT scans may be slightly more sensitive to detecting smaller colloid cysts. In contrast to other types of tumors, colloid cysts are almost always located in the third ventricle, and have a smooth, well-defined appearance. If a colloid cyst is suspected, the patient should schedule a consultation with a neurosurgeon right away.

Treating Colloid Cysts

To determine the most effective treatment option for a colloid cyst, numerous factors must be considered. For example, the size of the cyst, the age of the patient, and the degree of cerebrospinal fluid blockage are all evaluated in the treatment planning process.

Advanced, minimally invasive techniques such as keyhole brain surgery can safely remove colloid cysts, reduce complications, and prevent further problems from developing.

Patients whose cyst is less than 10 millimeters in diameter with no obstructive hydrocephalus may not require surgical intervention. In many of these cases, continued monitoring through an annual MRI is sufficient. If scans find the cyst has grown, Dr. Nakaji may recommend surgical removal.

Surgical removal is generally recommended for patients whose cysts are larger than 10 millimeters, even if they are not experiencing any symptoms. Advanced, minimally invasive techniques such as keyhole brain surgery can remove colloid cysts, reduce complications, and prevent further problems from developing, such as sudden deterioration or death.

Learn More During an Appointment

If you would like to learn more about colloid cysts or keyhole brain surgery, schedule a consultation with Dr. Nakaji. To reach a team member, use our online form or call our office at (602) 406-4808.

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