Wajd N. Al-Holou, Hugh J. L. Garton, Karin M. Muraszko, Mohannad Ibrahim and Cormac O. Maher
Pineal cysts are a frequent incidental finding on intracranial imaging. In adults, the prevalence of pineal cysts is estimated to be 1.1–4.3%. However, the prevalence is not well established in younger patients.
The authors retrospectively reviewed a consecutive series of 14,516 patients 25 years of age and younger, who underwent brain MR imaging at a single institution over an 11-year period. In patients identified with pineal cysts, the authors analyzed the images according to cyst size, signal characteristics, enhancement pattern, and evidence of local mass effect. Patient characteristics including demographics and other intracranial diagnoses were collected in the pineal cyst population and compared with a randomly selected age- and sex-matched control patient population. The data were evaluated using univariate and multivariate logistic regression, linear regression, and ANOVA.
The authors identified 288 pineal region cysts (2.0%). The prevalence of pineal cysts was higher in female (2.4%) than in male patients (1.5%; p < 0.001). Pineal cysts were identified in patients of all ages, with an increased prevalence found in older patients (p < 0.001). Pineal cyst size was similar for all age and sex groups.
Pineal cysts are common in the pediatric population, with an increased prevalence in girls and in older patients.
Michael J. Cools, Wajd N. Al-Holou, William R. Stetler Jr., Thomas J. Wilson, Karin M. Muraszko, Mohannad Ibrahim, Frank La Marca, Hugh J. L. Garton and Cormac O. Maher
Filum terminale lipomas (FTLs) are being identified with increasing frequency due to the increasing utilization of MRI. Although an FTL may be associated with tethered cord syndrome (TCS), in many cases FTLs are diagnosed incidentally in patients without any symptoms of TCS. The natural history of FTLs is not well defined.
The authors searched the clinical and imaging records at a single institution over a 14-year interval to identify patients with FTLs. For patients with an FTL, the clinical records were reviewed for indication for imaging, presenting symptoms, perceived need for surgery, and clinical outcome. A natural history analysis was performed using all patients with more than 6 months of clinical follow-up.
A total of 436 patients with FTL were identified. There were 217 males and 219 females. Of these patients, 282 (65%) were adults and 154 (35%) were children. Symptoms of TCS were present in 22 patients (5%). Fifty-two patients underwent surgery for FTL (12%). Sixty-four patients (15%) had a low-lying conus and 21 (5%) had a syrinx. The natural history analysis included 249 patients with a mean follow-up time of 3.5 years. In the follow-up period, only 1 patient developed new symptoms.
Filum terminale lipomas are a common incidental finding on spinal MRI, and most patients present without associated symptoms. The untreated natural history is generally benign for asymptomatic patients.
Kyle T. Johnson, Wajd N. Al-Holou, Richard C. E. Anderson, Thomas J. Wilson, Tejas Karnati, Mohannad Ibrahim, Hugh J. L. Garton and Cormac O. Maher
Our understanding of pediatric cervical spine development remains incomplete. The purpose of this analysis was to quantitatively define cervical spine growth in a population of children with normal CT scans.
A total of 1458 children older than 1 year and younger than 18 years of age who had undergone a cervical spine CT scan at the authors' institution were identified. Subjects were separated by sex and age (in years) into 34 groups. Following this assignment, subjects within each group were randomly selected for inclusion until a target of 15 subjects in each group had been measured. Linear measurements were performed on the midsagittal image of the cervical spine. Twenty-three unique measurements were obtained for each subject.
Data showed that normal vertical growth of the pediatric cervical spine continues up to 18 years of age in boys and 14 years of age in girls. Approximately 75% of the vertical growth occurs throughout the subaxial spine and 25% occurs across the craniovertebral region. The C-2 body is the largest single-segment contributor to vertical growth, but the subaxial vertebral bodies and disc spaces also contribute. Overall vertical growth of the cervical spine throughout childhood is dependent on individual vertebral body growth as well as vertical growth of the disc spaces. The majority of spinal canal diameter growth occurs by 4 years of age.
The authors' morphometric analyses establish parameters for normal pediatric cervical spine growth up to 18 years of age. These data should be considered when evaluating children for potential surgical intervention and provide a basis of comparison for studies investigating the effects of cervical spine instrumentation and fusion on subsequent growth.
Wajd N. Al-Holou, Samuel W. Terman, Craig Kilburg, Hugh J. L. Garton, Karin M. Muraszko, William F. Chandler, Mohannad Ibrahim and Cormac O. Maher
We reviewed our experience with pineal cysts to define the natural history and clinical relevance of this common intracranial finding.
The study population consisted of 48,417 consecutive patients who underwent brain MR imaging at a single institution over a 12-year interval and who were over 18 years of age at the time of imaging. Patient characteristics, including demographic data and other intracranial diagnoses, were collected from cases involving patients with a pineal cyst. We then identified all patients with pineal cysts who had been clinically evaluated at our institution and who had at least 6 months of clinical and imaging follow-up. All inclusion criteria for the natural history analysis were met in 151 patients.
Pineal cysts measuring 5 mm or larger in greatest dimension were found in 478 patients (1.0%). Of these, 162 patients were male and 316 were female. On follow-up MR imaging of 151 patients with pineal cyst at a mean interval of 3.4 years from the initial study, 124 pineal cysts remained stable, 4 increased in size, and 23 decreased in size. Cysts that were larger at the time of initial diagnosis were more likely to decrease in size over the follow-up interval (p = 0.004). Patient sex, patient age at diagnosis, and the presence of septations within the cyst were not significantly associated with cyst change on follow-up.
Follow-up imaging and neurosurgical evaluation are not mandatory for adults with asymptomatic pineal cysts.