Tarlov cysts are fluid-filled nerve root cysts found most commonly at the sacral level of the spine — the vertebrae at the base of the spine. These cysts typically occur along the posterior nerve roots. Cysts can be valved or non valved.
These cysts are sometimes called perineural, meaning the cyst can surround (peri) a nerve (neural). They are also known as sacral nerve root cysts because tarlov cysts are more common in the sacrum.
An increase in pressure in or on the cysts may increase symptoms and cause nerve damage. Sitting, standing, walking and bending are typically painful, and often, the only position that provides relief is reclining flat on one’s side. Symptoms vary greatly by patient and may flare up and then subside.
Any of the following may be present in patients that have symptomatic Tarlov cysts;
- Pain in the area of the nerves affected by the cysts, especially the buttocks
- Weakness of muscles
- Difficulty sitting for prolonged periods
- Loss of sensation on the skin
- Loss of reflexes
- Changes in bowel function, such as constipation
- Changes in bladder function, including increased frequency or incontinence
- Changes in sexual function
Treatment for Tarlov Cyst
Nonsurgical Treatment – nonsurgical therapies include lumbar drainage of the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), CT scanning-guided cyst aspiration and a newer technique involving removing the CSF from inside the cyst and then filling the space with the fibrin glue injection.
Surgery – tarlov cyst surgery involves exposing the region of the spine where the cyst is located. The cyst is opened and the fluid drained, and then in order to prevent the fluid from returning, the cyst is occluded with a fibrin glue injection or other matter.
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