Observing a brain scan

Epidermoid Cyst

What are Epidermoid Cysts?

Epidermoid cysts are benign growths that arise along the surface of the brain and can cause symptoms from increasing pressure on brain structures.

Epidermoid cyst surgery is recommended for symptomatic cysts; fortunately, most can be removed through one of several endoscopic keyhole routes depending upon cyst size and location.

Epidermoid Cyst Neurosurgeons and Specialists

At PNI, we have a large experience of epidermoid cyst removal and a vast experience in minimally invasive endoscopic surgical approaches for all types of brain and skull base tumors and cysts. By incorporating cutting edge technology and instrumentation with proven surgical experience, we make surgery safer, less invasive and more effective.

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About Epidermoid Cysts

These relatively uncommon benign cysts or tumors arise from stratified squamous epithelium along the surface of the brain. The most common locations are around the brainstem, pituitary gland and in the posterior fossa along the sides of the cerebellum.

Epidermoid Cyst Symptoms

As the epithelial lining continues to produce the soft white keratin material, the cyst puts pressure on the adjacent brain structures and cranial nerves.

This cyst expansion can lead to:

  • Headaches
  • Weakness
  • Imbalance
  • Visual loss
  • Double vision
  • Seizures depending upon the cyst location

Some epidermoid cysts can rupture and result in a meningitis-type reaction from inflammation.

Epidermoid Cyst Diagnosis

These cystic tumors are typically diagnosed by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computer tomography (CT) scans of the brain.

Depending upon the location of an epidermoid cyst, a focused MRI of the pituitary region or internal auditory canals may be indicated to obtain better anatomical detail.

Epidermoid Cysts Treatment

Chemotherapy and radiotherapy are generally not used for treating epidermoid cysts.

Epidermoid Cysts Removal

Epidermoid cyst surgery is required to remove large epidermoid tumors causing symptoms and is generally quite successful in resolving symptoms.

Because the cyst lining can be very adherent to the brain structures, cranial nerves and blood vessels, a complete cyst removal may not be possible in many patients. If only a subtotal removal is accomplished, follow-up MRIs are necessary for many years to monitor for recurrence.

How do you get rid of an epidermoid cyst?

Epidermoid cysts are treated with surgical resection.

Will a cyst go away by itself?

No, these cysts will either stay the same size or slowly grow over time.

How do you treat an inflamed cyst?

These are treated with a combination of steroids and surgical resection.

Can you squeeze out a cyst?

No, they occur in the bone and brain.

What can happen if a cyst is left untreated?

It may either stay the same size or slowly grow, which could cause new neurological deficits over time.

Why do people get brain cysts?

Some people are likely born with these cysts, though could also be caused by trauma.


Doctors and Specialists Who Treat Epidermoid Cysts

Written and reviewed by:
We are a highly specialized team of medical professionals with extensive neurological and cranial disorder knowledge, expertise and writing experience.
Last updated: June 9, 2020