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Daniel H. Fulkerson, Todd D. Vogel, Abdul A. Baker, Neal B. Patel, Laurie L. Ackerman, Jodi L. Smith and Joel C. Boaz

Object

The optimal treatment of symptomatic posterior fossa arachnoid cysts is controversial. Current options include open or endoscopic resection, fenestration, or cyst-peritoneal shunt placement. There are potential drawbacks with all options. Previous authors have described stenting a cyst into the ventricular system for supratentorial lesions. The current authors have used a similar strategy for posterior fossa cysts.

Methods

The authors performed a retrospective review of 79 consecutive patients (1993–2010) with surgically treated intracranial arachnoid cysts.

Results

The authors identified 3 patients who underwent placement of a stent from a posterior fossa arachnoid cyst to a supratentorial ventricle. In 2 patients the stent construct consisted of a catheter placed into a posterior fossa arachnoid cyst and connecting to a lateral ventricle catheter. Both patients underwent stent placement as a salvage procedure after failure of open surgical fenestration. In the third patient a single-catheter cyst-ventricle stent was stereotactically placed. All 3 patients improved clinically. Two patients remained asymptomatic, with radiographic stability in a follow-up period of 1 and 5 years, respectively. The third patient experienced initial symptom resolution with a demonstrable reduction of intracystic pressure. However, he developed recurrent headaches after 2 years.

Conclusions

Posterior fossa cyst–ventricle stenting offers the benefits of ease of surgical technique and a low morbidity rate. It may also potentially reduce the incidence of shunt-related headaches by equalizing the pressure between the posterior fossa and the supratentorial compartments. While fenestration is considered the first-line therapy for most symptomatic arachnoid cysts, the authors consider cyst-ventricle stenting to be a valuable additional strategy in treating these rare and often difficult lesions.