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As pineal cysts tend to be benign, they are usually ignored. If it is pursued, the most common treatment is surgical removal. Treatment is usually only necessary in extremely rare situations where the cyst has grown so much that it hinders proper function of other parts of the brain. In very rare cases it may be removed due to cancer.
There are two primary types of treatment for a pineal cyst that looks problematic. If the doctor would like to examine material from the growth, it will usually be gathered via a biopsy. In more severe cases, as much of the cyst as possible may be removed from the brain before the tissue is examined.
A pineal cyst is most often discovered during magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or a computed axial tomography (CAT) scan that is being conducted for another reason. In most cases, the doctor will note the size of the cyst and attempt to determine if it has the characteristics of a tumor. If it can be determined that the growth is benign, then there is usually no need for treatment. In many cases, the doctor will want to periodically check to see if the cyst has grown. If it continues to grow, then surgery may be performed to remove it before it is big enough to cause problems.
When it can not be determined via a scan that the growth is a benign mass like the pineal cyst, then a biopsy is usually the next step. In this case, surgery for complete removal of the mass will only be performed if it is found to be cancerous. When there is a large mass, it is most commonly removed without previous examination of the material, particularly if it is causing serious problems.
In rare situations, the pineal cyst can be symptomatic. This is usually because the cyst has grown so much that it has pressed into other parts of the brain. Such a growth can cause symptoms ranging in severity from nausea and headaches to coma. Large pineal cysts can also cause vision problems.
A pineal cyst is a growth with smooth sides that appears on or near the pineal gland. It is a common occurrence, and the fluid-filled sacs are usually small. In many cases, they are not discovered until death from other causes. They can be found at any age but tend to be more common in middle-aged patients. The cysts are also slightly more common in women.