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Surgical excision of symptomatic sacral perineurial Tarlov cyst: case series and review of the literature

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Symptomatic sacral perineural cysts are extremely rare. The aim of this retrospective study is to investigate the outcome of 15 consecutive patients treated by microsurgical resection of the cyst and to review the literature.


The authors retrospectively reviewed their clinical data archive from 2002 to 2014. Fifteen patients who were operated on due to symptomatic sacral perineural cysts were enrolled in the study. Patients’ symptoms, radiographs, intra-operative findings, and clinical results were evaluated. All 15 patients underwent microsurgical excision of the cyst. The literature on this topic available in PubMed was also reviewed.


There were 5 men and 10 women included in the study, with a mean age of 31 years (range 7–60 years). Preoperative symptoms include low back pain, coccydynia, buttock pain, perianal pain and radicular pain. All of the patients underwent surgical resection. The mean follow-up was 54 months (range 3–160 months). All the patients experienced complete or substantial resolution of the preoperative local and radicular pain after surgery.


Cyst excision is an effective and safe technique for symptomatic sacral perineural (Tarlov) cysts. Careful patient selection is vital to the management and treatment of this difficult and controversial pathology.

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Magnetic resonance imaging


Visual analog scale


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Computerized tomography


Cerebrospinal fluid


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Correspondence to Ahmed Elsawaf.

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The authors have no interest in the materials and methodology advanced in this manuscript. The study was done after consent was taken from all patients and full discussion with them about benefits and hazards of surgical approach.

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Elsawaf, A., Awad, T.E. & Fesal, S.S. Surgical excision of symptomatic sacral perineurial Tarlov cyst: case series and review of the literature. Eur Spine J 25, 3385–3392 (2016).

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