Surgical treatment of intrathoracic meningoceles, commonly associated with neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1), aims to reduce sac size for symptomatic relief. The procedures can be divided into cerebrospinal fluid diversion and definitive repair. The authors describe the management of an intrathoracic meningocele in a 56-year-old female with preexisting NF1.
The patient presented with progressive dyspnea. Magnetic resonance imaging revealed a left hemithoracic meningocele arising from the thecal sac at C7–T2. Two attempts at diversion by cystoperitoneal shunts resulted in recurrence. For definitive repair, T2–3 costotransversectomy was performed, and intradural closure of the meningocele opening was performed utilizing spinal dura and autologous fascia lata graft. Trapezius muscle regional flap was turned for reinforcement. Persistent leak warranted reoperation 7 days later. A transthoracic approach was undertaken using video-assisted thoracoscopic resection of the sac at aortic arch level, with reinforcement by latissimus dorsi flap and synthetic materials. Mechanical pleurodesis was performed. Intradural repair of the meningocele opening was revised.
Inherent dural abnormality makes repair difficult for meningoceles associated with NF1. A combined intradural and thoracoscopic approach with regional muscle flap and synthetic material reinforcement is a unique method for definitive treatment. Some essential points of perioperative management are highlighted.