Colloid cysts

Zubair A Shaikh MD (Dr. Shaikh of Mid Michigan Medical Center has no relevant financial relationships to disclose.)
Edward J Dropcho MD, editor. (Dr. Dropcho of Indiana University Medical Center has no relevant financial relationships to disclose.)
Originally released March 25, 1996; last updated March 11, 2009; expires March 11, 2012
Notice: This article has expired and is therefore not available for CME credit.


Colloid cyst is a benign intraventricular lesion, but it may present with a variety of neurologic symptoms. The author discusses the clinical presentation, diagnosis, and management of colloid cysts. New surgical techniques have resulted in successful resection of the colloid cysts with reduced perioperative morbidity. Review of recent literature suggests that endoscopic resection of colloid cyst may be an effective surgical approach in most patients.

Historical note and terminology

The colloid cyst is a benign intraventricular lesion, usually arising in the third ventricle and consisting of collagenous capsule with a thick gelatinous, viscous material inside (Abdou and Cohen 1998). The term “colloid” is derived from Greek word Kollodes meaning “resembling glue” (Armao et al 2000). In 1858, Wallman described the first case of a colloid cyst presenting with urinary incontinence and ataxia (Wallman 1858). Dandy first successfully removed a colloid cyst in 1921 using an approach through the posterior right lateral ventricle. An early operative mortality of 20% was discouraging. Subsequently, transcallosal, transventricular, transcallosal interfornicial, transventricular subchoroidal, and stereotaxic approaches have all been successfully used to remove these lesions (Dandy 1933; Kelly 1951; Bosch et al 1978; Shucart and Stein 1978; Antunes et al 1980; Apuzzo et al 1982; Lavyne and Patterson 1983). The introduction of microsurgical techniques has reduced operative mortality to almost zero (Bosch et al 1978).

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