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  • By Author: Drake, James M. x
  • By Author: Auguste, Kurtis I. x
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James A. J. King, Kurtis I. Auguste, William Halliday, James M. Drake and Abhaya V. Kulkarni

Hydrocephalus secondary to giant retrocerebellar cysts in infancy is a challenging condition and many treatment options exist. The authors report on 3 consecutive cases involving infants under the age of 6 months treated successfully with ventriculocystostomy in combination with direct hydrocephalus treatment (endoscopic third ventriculostomy or shunt placement). They describe the operative procedure, the surgical morbidity, and outcome in each case and review the literature regarding surgical approaches to this condition.

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Ratan D. Bhardwaj, Kurtis I. Auguste, Abhaya V. Kulkarni, Peter B. Dirks, James M. Drake and James T. Rutka

Object

Because of their location and biological behavior, brainstem cavernous malformations (CMs) pose a formidable clinical challenge to the neurosurgeon. The optimal management of these lesions requires considerable neurosurgical judgment. Accordingly, the authors reviewed their experience with the management of pediatric brainstem CMs at the Hospital for Sick Children.

Methods

The authors performed a retrospective chart review of pediatric patients who had received diagnoses of a brainstem CM at the Hospital for Sick Children over the past 20 years.

Results

Twenty patients were diagnosed with brainstem CMs. The mean age at diagnosis was 10.1 ± 5.4 years, and the patients included 13 boys and 7 girls. The mean maximal diameter of the CM was 14.3 ± 11.2 mm. The lesions were evenly distributed on the right and left sides of the brainstem with 4 midbrain, 13 pontine, and 3 medullary lesions. Seven patients underwent surgery for the management of their CMs, with a mean age at presentation of 5.2 years, and a mean CM size of 21.0 mm. Of note from the surgical group, 2 patients had a family history of CMs, 2 lesions were medullary, the CM reached a pial surface in 6 of 7 patients, and 6 of 7 lesions were located on the right side. The mean age at presentation among the 13 patients in the nonsurgical group was 12.7 years, and the mean CM size was 10.6 mm. Seven of these patients had a prior history of radiation for tumor, and only 3 had lesions that reached a pial surface.

Conclusions

The management of brainstem CMs in children is influenced by multiple factors. The majority of patients received conservative management and tended to be asymptomatic with smaller lesions. Patients with larger lesions and direct pial contact, in whom symptoms arose at a younger age were more likely to undergo surgical management. A history of familial CM was also a predictor for receiving surgical treatment. No patients with a prior history of radiation therapy underwent surgery for CMs. The presence of multiple lesions seemed to have no impact on the type of management chosen. Patients who underwent surgery did suffer morbidity related to the procedure, and tended to improve clinically over time. Conservative management was associated with new deficits arising in children, some of which improved with time. Consideration of many clinical and radiological parameters is thus prudent when managing the care of children with brainstem CMs.

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Ibrahim Ahmed, Kurtis I. Auguste, Shobhan Vachhrajani, Peter B. Dirks, James M. Drake and James T. Rutka

Object

Epidermoid tumors are benign lesions representing 1% of all intracranial tumors. There have been few pediatric series of intracranial epidermoid tumors reported previously. The authors present their experience in the management of these lesions.

Methods

The neurosurgical database at the Hospital for Sick Children was searched for children with surgically managed intracranial epidermoid tumors. The patients' charts were reviewed for demographic data, details of clinical presentation, surgical therapy, and follow-up. Ethics board approval was obtained for this study.

Results

Seven children, all girls, were identified who met the inclusion criteria between 1980 and 2007. The average age at surgery was 11.2 years (range 8–15 years), and the mean maximal tumor diameter was 2.1 cm. Headache was the most common presenting symptom, and 1 tumor was found incidentally. Most patients had normal neurological examinations, but meningism was found in 2 cases. There were 3 cerebellopontine angle lesions, 1 pontomedullary lesion, and 3 supratentorial tumors. Hydrocephalus developed in 1 patient after aseptic meningitis, and she underwent shunt placement. There were no operative deaths. Complete resection could be performed in 2 patients. One patient experienced a small recurrence that did not require a repeated operation, while 1 subtotally resected lesion recurred and the patient underwent a second operation.

Conclusions

Intracranial epidermoid tumors are rare in the pediatric population. Total resection is desirable to minimize the risk of postoperative aseptic meningitis, hydrocephalus, and tumor recurrence. Aggressive neurosurgical resection may be associated with cranial nerve or ischemic deficits, however. In these cases, neurosurgical judgment at the time of surgery is warranted to ensure maximum resection while minimizing postoperative neurological deficits.