A cyst in the pineal gland is called pineal love cyst. What is pineal gland and why the cyst is called as pineal love? The pineal gland is a part of endocrine system in the brain and situated exactly between the eyes which is the centre of the brain. It is pine cone shaped and size is equal to a pea. This gland is also known as the third eye as it allows us to have senses and to feel. It allows the brain to regulate consciousness and to interpret the body’s sensory functions. This gland sometimes effected by a cyst which is usually benign and asymptomatic in small size, but if these are large i.e. more than 5.0 mm, which are very rare, then these show a variety of symptoms as headache, visual disturbance, unexpected seizures, loss of consciousness, muscle fasciculations, circadian rhythm dysfunction, light sensitivity etc. Sometimes if the cyst effects the superior colliculi ( paired structure of midbrain in mammals) or it causes obstruction of the cerebral aqueduct then it results in hydrocephalus ( a condition in which the cerebrospinal fluid accumulates in the brain abnormally). In these cases the cyst should be removed as soon as possible. The recent advancements in the endoscopic medicine have allowed to remove the cyst by endoscopic brain surgery that takes only one night in the hospital and the patient recovers within a week unlike the patient who undergoes the open skull brain surgery.
The cause of the pineal cyst is not known, but one theory tells that the hormonal imbalances during the menstruation or pregnancy play an important role in the development of these cysts. Another theory tells that if hemorrhaging occurs in the pineal region then the bleeding can cause the cyst to develop and grow in size. These cysts are diagnosed by CT scan and MRI.
Pineal tumors are different from pineal cyst. They can be cystic in appearance, but can be distinguished by microscopic examination of affected tissue in which it is shown clearly that the pineal cysts have three concentric layers:
1. Inner layer: Glial tissue containing hemosiderin.
2. Middle layer: Pineal parenchyma cells layer.
3. Outer layer: Connective tissue layer which is thin and fibrous.
With the help of this examination we can differentiate pineal cyst from pineal tumor.