Symptoms can include headache, vertigo, memory deficits, diplopia, behavioral disturbances and in extreme cases, sudden death. Intermittency of symptoms is characteristic of this lesion. Untreated pressure caused by these cysts can result in brain herniation. Colloid cyst symptoms have been associated with 4 variables: cyst size, cyst imaging characteristics, ventricular size, and patient age. The developmental origin is unclear, though they may be of endodermal origin, which would explain the mucin-producing, ciliated cell type. These cysts can be surgically resected, and opinion is divided about the advisability of this.
Patients with third ventricular colloid cysts become symptomatic when the tumor enlarges rapidly, causing CSF obstruction, ventriculomegaly, and increased intracranial pressure. Some cysts enlarge more gradually, however, allowing the patient to accommodate the enlarging mass without disruption of CSF flow, and the patient remains asymptomatic. In these cases, if the cyst stops growing, the patient can maintain a steady state between CSF production and absorption and may not require neurosurgical intervention.
Colloid cysts can be diagnosed by symptoms presented. Additional testing will be required and the colloid cyst symptoms can resemble those of other diseases. MRI and CT scans are often used to confirm diagnosis.
Various management options exist depending on the severity of symptoms and their effect on the patient. The main management options are: observation, craniotomy for microsurgical resection, neuroendoscopic removal, stereotactic drainage, and cerebrospinal fluid diversion with bilateral ventriculoperitoneal shunting placement.
Multiple studies have discussed how to remove a colloid cyst. One option is an endoscopic removal. An endoscope is inserted into the brain via a small incision and then moved toward the tumor in the ventricular compartment. The tumor is hit with an electric current. The interior of the cyst is removed followed by the cyst wall. The electric current is then used to kill the remaining pieces of the cyst. This whole process, including closing of the incision and removal of the scope is completed within 45 minutes to an hour. The patients are able to leave the hospital after 1 or 2 days. Another study found that ventriculomegaly may not be a contraindication for endoscopic removal, as the condition has comparable complication rates. Another study experimented with a smaller retractor tube, 12 mm instead of 16–22 mm. The surgery was successful in removing the cyst; the smaller retractor tube minimized resection injury.