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A pineal gland cyst is a benign cyst in the pineal gland, a small endocrine gland in the brain. Historicly, these fluid-filled bodies appeared on 1-4% of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) brain scans, but were more frequent at death, seen in 21-41% of autopsies.[1] But a 2007 study by Pua et al. found a frequency of 23% in brain scans (with a mean largest inner cross-sectional diameter of .43 cm), with an insignificantly higher frequency for women over men.[1]

These smaller cysts (less than .50 cm) are usually asymptomatic, but for larger cysts (greater than .50 cm), possible symptoms could include headache, visual disturbances, or hydrocephalus if the cyst impinged on the superior colliculi or caused obstruction of the cerebral aqueduct.

The National Organization for Rare Disorders says that pineal cysts larger than .50 cm are "rare findings" and are possibly symptomatic. If narrowing of the aqueduct of sylvius occurs, many neurological symptoms may exist, including headaches, vertigo, nausea, eye sensitivity, and ataxia. Continued monitoring of the cyst might be recommended to monitor its growth, and endoscopic surgery may be recommended.[2]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Y. Pua, S. Mahankalia, J. Houa, J. Lia, J.L. Lancastera, J.-H. Gaoa, D.E. Appelbaumb and P.T. Fox. "High Prevalence of Pineal Cysts in Healthy Adults Demonstrated by High-Resolution, Noncontrast Brain MR Imaging" American Journal of Neuroradiology 28:1706-1709, October 2007. doi: 10.3174/ajnr.A0656 [1]
  2. Pineal Cysts, Symptomatic, National Organization for Rare Disorders

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