Tarlov cysts are benign perineurial cysts of the nerve root.

They occur most often in the sacral region.


The cause of the cysts is uncertain. Some may be a result of increased hydrostatic pressure and/or truama.


The presence of Tarlov cysts may be asymptomatic or symptomatic, depending on size and location.


Complications associated with Tarlov cysts may include:

(1) radicular pain

(2) bladder or bowel dysfunction

(3) nonradicular pain

(4) persistent genital arousal disorder (if cyst at S2 or S3)

(5) paresthesia


Improvement in symptoms after removal of the cysts supports the interpretation that the cyst was causal. A cyst > 1.5 cm in diameter with radicular pain is more likely to improve after surgery.

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