Tarlov Cyst

(Perineural Cyst; Sacral Nerve Root Cyst)


Tarlov cysts are abnormal sacs of spinal fluid that usually form at the lower end of the spine, which is called the sacrum. Tarlov cysts contain spinal nerve fibers within the cyst wall.
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The cause of a Tarlov cyst is unknown but may be related to:
  • Trauma to the spine
  • Increase in cerebrospinal fluid pressure
  • Blockage of cerebrospinal fluid

Risk Factors

Although gender may not be a risk factor, Tarlov cysts have more often been found in women than men. Tarlov cysts may be linked to connective tissue disorders such as systemic lupus erythematosus and Marfan syndrome .


Most of the time, Tarlov cysts do not cause symptoms. When symptoms do occur, they may include:
  • Bladder or bowel dysfunction
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Nerve pain
  • Pain in the lower back, buttocks, legs and feet, vagina, rectum, or abdomen
  • Pain when coughing or sneezing
  • Weakness, cramping, or numbness in the buttocks, legs, and feet
  • Swelling, soreness, or tenderness around the lower end of the spine
  • Abnormal sensations in the legs and feet, or less commonly in the arms and hands
  • Pain when sitting or standing
  • Headaches
  • Pulling and burning feeling in the tailbone
  • Loss of sensation on the skin
  • Loss of reflexes
If you have a Tarlov cyst, the following may cause it to become painful or cause other symptoms:

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