A Tarlov cyst (also called a perineural cyst) is a CSF filled dilatation of the nerve root sheath at the dorsal root ganglion. These are type II spinal meningeal cysts that are, by definition, extra dural, but contain neural tissue.
Like other spinal meningeal cysts, these are largely asymptomatic and found incidentally. Large cysts may cause local pressure effect, but they need to be large. Symptoms however don't appear to correlate with size 2.
They occur in approximately 5% of the population, more commonly in women.
If large may be seen as a posterior extra-ovarian cystic mass. The sacral foramina may be widened. Morphology can vary from a simple rounded cyst to a complex loculated cystic mass. There may be bone scalloping of the exit foramen.
Initially described by I.M Tarlov in 1938 1
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- 1. Tarlov IM. Perineural cysts of the spinal nerve roots. Arch Neurol Psychiatr 1938; 40:1067-1074.
- 2. Davis SW, Levy LM, Lebihan DJ et-al. Sacral meningeal cysts: evaluation with MR imaging. Radiology. 1993;187 (2): 445-8. Radiology (abstract) - Pubmed citation
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