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Enlarged tumefactive perivascular, or Virchow-Robin, spaces and hydrocephalus: do we need to treat? Illustrative cases

Belal Neyazi, Vanessa Magdalena Swiatek, Klaus-Peter Stein, Karl Hartmann, Ali Rashidi, Seraphine Zubel, Amir Amini, and I. Erol Sandalcioglu

BACKGROUND

Perivascular spaces (PVSs) are spaces in brain parenchyma filled with interstitial fluid surrounding small cerebral vessels. Massive enlargements of PVSs are referred to as “giant tumefactive perivascular spaces” (GTPVSs), which can be classified into three types depending on their localization. These lesions are rare, predominantly asymptomatic, and often initially misinterpreted as cystic tumor formations. However, there are several reported cases in which GTPVSs have induced neurological symptoms because of their size, mass effect, and location, ultimately leading to obstructive hydrocephalus necessitating neurosurgical intervention. Presented here are three diverse clinical presentations of GTPVS.

OBSERVATIONS

Here, the authors observed an asymptomatic case of type 1 GTPVS and two symptomatic cases of type 3 GTPVS, one causing local mass effect and the other hydrocephalus.

LESSONS

GTPVSs are mostly asymptomatic lesions. Patients without symptoms should be closely monitored, and biopsy is discouraged. Hydrocephalus resulting from GTPVS necessitates surgical intervention. In these cases, third ventriculostomy, shunt implantation, or direct cyst fenestration are surgical options. For patients presenting with symptoms from localized mass effect, a thorough evaluation for potential neurosurgical intervention is imperative. Follow-up in type 3 GTPVS is recommended, particularly in untreated cases. Given the infrequency of GTPVS, definitive guidelines for neurosurgical treatment and subsequent follow-up remain elusive.