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  • Author or Editor: John R. W. Kestle x
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James K. Liu, Chad D. Cole, Gregory T. Sherr, John R. W. Kestle and Marion L. Walker

✓Extradural arachnoid cysts in the spine are relatively uncommon causes of spinal cord compression in the pediatric population that are thought to arise from congenital defects in the dura mater. Most reports describe such cysts communicating with the intrathecal subarachnoid space through a small defect in the dura. The authors describe the case of a child who presented with spinal cord compression caused by a large spinal extradural arachnoid cyst that did not communicate with the intradural subarachnoid space. An 11-year-old girl presented with urinary urgency, progressive lower-extremity weakness, myelopathy, and severe gait ataxia. Magnetic resonance imaging of the spine demonstrated a large extradural arachnoid cyst extending from T-8 to T-12. The patient underwent a thoracic laminoplasty for en bloc resection of the spinal extradural arachnoid cyst. Intraoperatively, the dura was intact and there was no evidence of communication into the intradural subarachnoid space. Postoperatively, the patient's motor strength and ambulation improved immediately, and no subsequent cerebrospinal fluid leak occurred.

Noncommunicating spinal extradural arachnoid cysts are extremely rare lesions that can cause spinal cord compression in children. Because the dura remains intact, they can be removed entirely without subsequent dural repair. The authors review the literature and discuss the proposed underlying mechanisms of formation of these arachnoid cysts.

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James K. Liu, Chad D. Cole, John R. W. Kestle, Douglas L. Brockmeyer and Marion L. Walker

The optimal treatment of craniopharyngioma in children remains a challenge. The use of complete excision to minimize recurrence continues to be controversial because of the risk of postoperative morbidity and death. Advances in skull base approaches, modern microsurgical techniques, neuroimaging, and hormone replacement therapy, however, have allowed safe gross- or near-total resection in the majority of cases. Total removal of these tumors, if possible, offers the best chance of cure for the patient. Although craniopharyngiomas are not strictly tumors of skull base origin, their intimate relationship with the neurovascular structures of this region often requires a skull base approach to maximize the surgical corridor and facilitate adequate microsurgical resection. In this review, the authors focus on commonly used skull base approaches for the surgical management of craniopharyngioma. They discuss the relative indications, advantages, disadvantages, and complications associated with each approach. Illustrative cases and intra-operative videos are presented.