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Merdas Al-Otibi and James T. Rutka

Neurofibromatosis Type 1 (NF1) is one of the most common inherited diseases in humans. It is caused by a mutation in the NF1 gene on chromosome 17, and is associated with numerous central and peripheral nervous system manifestations. Children with NF1 are at high risk of harboring numerous lesions that may require the attention of a neurosurgeon. Some of these include optic nerve gliomas, hydrocephalus, intraspinal tumors, and peripheral nerve tumors. Although most of the neoplasms that affect the brain, spine, and peripheral nerves of children are low-grade lesions, there is a small but real risk that some of these lesions may become high grade over time, requiring other forms of therapy than surgery alone. Other associated disorders that may result from NF1 in childhood include Chiari malformation Type I, scoliosis, and pulsating exophthalmos from the absence of the sphenoid wing. In this review, the major lesions that are found in children with NF1 are reviewed as well as the types of treatment that are offered by neurosurgeons and other members of the treating team. Today, optimum care of the child with NF1 is provided by a multidisciplinary team comprising neurosurgeons, neurologists, ophthalmologists, radiologists, orthopedic surgeons, and plastic surgeons.