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Cysts of the pineal gland

A new clinical entity to be distinguished from tumors of the pineal region


Thirty-two cases of pineal cyst diagnosed by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) were reviewed and are described. The pineal cyst was demonstrated to be an area with slightly less intensity than the surrounding tissue and with slightly greater intensity than the CSF on T1-weighted images. On the T2-weighted images this lesion was identified as a high-intensity area with smooth margins and was homogeneous in nature. In three cases presenting with headache, compression of the vein of Galen was identified, and compression of the quadrigeminal plate was demonstrated in five cases. No patients presented with both pineal and quadrigeminal lesions. Of the cases, 63% were not detected by CT scanning alone. There were two cases in which the cyst ruptured and collapsed spontaneously during follow-up. It is emphasized that the presence of this lesion, which was more frequent than previously expected, should be kept in mind when diagnosing pineal tumors and should not be misdiagnosed. Surgery should not be undertaken unless the lesion produces symptoms due to the compression of the quadrigeminal plate, aqueduct, or the vein of Galen.

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Correspondence to Norihiko Tamaki.

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Tamaki, N., Shirataki, K., Lin, T. et al. Cysts of the pineal gland. Child's Nerv Syst 5, 172–176 (1989).

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Key words

  • Pineal cyst
  • Pineal tumor
  • Pineal lesion
  • Magnetic resonance imaging