Ependymal cyst

Last revised by Assoc Prof Frank Gaillard on 29 Aug 2019

Ependymal cysts are rare benign neuroepithelial cysts lined by ependymal cells. Most are small and asymptomatic and only cause symptoms if large.

On imaging, these cysts are essentially indistinguishable from other intraventricular simple cysts (e.g. intraventricular arachnoid cysts).

They typically present in young adults. There may be a slight male predilection. Patients are often in their 30s at the time of presentation.

It is thought to arise from sequestration of developing neuroectoderm during embryogenesis. They are thin-walled and contain clear serous fluid secreted by the lining ependyma 1. They are most commonly located deep in the parenchyma, although intraventricular, periventricular and subarachnoid space cysts have also been reported 2. Ependymal cysts have been postulated to be the entity responsible for the interhemispheric cysts with the Dandy-Walker malformations and agenesis of the corpus callosum.

GFAP and S100 markers are often positive due to its neuroepithelial lining.

On imaging, they are well-defined, thin-walled and do not contrast enhance.  

Typically periventricular in location. The cyst is isoattenuating to CSF.  

Follows CSF signal on all sequences and does not demonstrate diffusion restriction. Occasionally the cyst may be hyperintense to CSF if there is a high protein content. No contrast enhancement.

Asymptomatic cysts may be monitored. In surgically resected cases recurrence is extremely rare and the prognosis is excellent. 

Large cysts in vulnerable locations may cause obstructive hydrocephalus

ADVERTISEMENT: Supporters see fewer/no ads

Updating… Please wait.

 Unable to process the form. Check for errors and try again.

 Thank you for updating your details.