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Daniel May, Benoît Jenny, and Antonio Faundez

✓ The authors report the case of a 66-year-old man with progressive, nontraumatic, C-1 cord compression who presented with a complete but hypoplastic atlas. They review six cases found in the literature. Symptoms usually develop in the late adulthood; the sagittal diameter of the canal measures 10 mm or less. The treatment requires a posterior decompression. Opening of the dura is sometimes necessary. There is no pressing need for a primary stabilization device.

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Aikaterini Kanavaki, Benoit Jenny, and Sylviane Hanquinet

The authors report a case of a preterm infant at 29 weeks of gestation who gradually developed a Chiari malformation Type I (CM-I) with hydrocephalus due to a premature unilateral fusion of the posterior intraoccipital synchondrosis. Brain ultrasonography results in the 1st week of life were normal. Follow-up ultrasonography showed progressive development of triventricular hydrocephalus. Brain MRI demonstrated the presence of a CM-I and a deformation of the occipital bone. A complementary CT scan was obtained, showing a closure of the right posterior intraoccipital synchondrosis, resulting in a deformation of the posterior cranial fossa. This case shows the close relationship between a malformation of the skull base and the secondary development of a brain malformation. The authors discuss the anatomy of the occipital bone and suggest a probable theory for the premature closure of this synchondrosis and the consequent development of a CM-I. The originality of this case lies in the observation of the natural history of a brain malformation in a preterm infant.

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Benoit Jenny, Nicolas Smoll, Yassine El Hassani, Shahan Momjian, Claudio Pollo, Christian M. Korff, Margitta Seeck, and Karl Schaller


Like adults, many children suffering from intractable seizures benefit from surgical therapy. Although various reports indicate that early intervention may avoid severe developmental consequences often associated with intractable epilepsy, surgery is still considered a last option for many children. In this retrospective study, the authors aimed to determine whether pediatric epilepsy surgery, in particular during the first years of life, relates to measurable benefits.


Data from 78 patients (age range 5 months to 17 years) who underwent epilepsy surgery at the Geneva and Lausanne University Hospitals between 1997 and 2012 were reviewed retrospectively. Patients were dichotomized into 2 groups: infants (≤ 3 years of age, n = 19), and children/adolescents (4–17 years of age, n = 59). Compared with children/adolescents, infants more often had a diagnosis of dysplasia (37% vs 10%, respectively; p < 0.05, chi-square test).


The overall seizure-free rate was 76.9%, with 89.5% in infants and 72.9% in the children/adolescents group. Infants were 2.76 times as likely to achieve seizure-free status as children/adolescents. Postoperative antiepileptic medication was reduced in 67.9% of patients. Only 11.4% of the patients were taking more than 2 antiepileptic drugs after surgery, compared with 43% before surgery (p < 0.0001). The overall complication rate was 15.1% (6.4% transient hemiparesis), and no major complications or deaths occurred.


The data show a high seizure-free rate in children ≤ 3 years of age, despite a higher occurrence of dysplastic, potentially ill-defined lesions. Pediatric patients undergoing epilepsy surgery can expect a significant reduction in their need for medication. Given the excellent results in the infant group, prospective studies are warranted to determine whether age ≤ 3 years is a predictor for excellent surgical outcome.

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Benoit Jenny, Michel Zerah, Dale Swift, Arnaud Le Tohic, Valérie Merzoug, Hortensia Alvarez, Gilles Grangé, and Bénédict Rilliet

In this report, the authors describe 4 recent cases of posterior giant dural venous sinus ectasia in neonates diagnosed during pregnancy and encountered at 3 different institutions. Posterior giant venous sinus ectasia was diagnosed in 4 patients using antenatal ultrasonography and confirmed in 2 patients using prenatal MR imaging and in 3 patients using postnatal MR angiography. In 2 children angiography was performed at the age of 6 months. The pregnancy was terminated in 1 case, and the fetus underwent an autopsy. The 3 children who were born presented with various degree of cardiac insufficiency and were admitted to the intensive care unit after birth. Signs of increased intracranial pressure were present immediately after birth, including a bulging fontanel. No endovascular treatment was used in these cases. Surgery was performed in 2 cases as an attempt to alleviate increased intracranial pressure symptoms, without any real benefit. A slow venous flow in the ectasia was shown by ultrasonography in the case in which the pregnancy was terminated. Angiography or MR angiography did not show an obvious arteriovenous malformation in any of the cases, but an arteriovenous fistula secondary or contributing to the formation of the venous ectasia is one of the physiopathological hypotheses of the cause of this condition. Interestingly, spontaneous progressive thrombosis and regression of the intravascular component of the venous sinus ectasia was observed in all cases. The clinical outcome was acceptable in 1 child (who had a moderate handicap after the surgery) and good for the other 2 children (who had normal neurological development). Stratified thrombi of different ages are found in these giant venous ectasias and develop within the leaves of the dura close to the confluence of the major posterior venous sinuses. Therefore, it appears that the formation of a progressive thrombosis represents the normal evolution of these giant dural venous sinus ectasias, which explains the favorable outcome in some cases without specific surgical treatment, except for resuscitation techniques.

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Benoit Jenny, Ivan Radovanovic, Charles-Antoine Haenggeli, Jacqueline Delavelle, Daniel Rüfenacht, André Kaelin, Jean-Louis Blouin, Armand Bottani, and Bénédict Rilliet

✓The PTEN hamartoma tumor syndrome, manifestations of which include Cowden disease and Bannayan-Riley-Ruvalcaba syndrome, is caused by various mutations of the PTEN gene located at 10q23. Its major criteria are macrocephaly and a propensity to develop breast and thyroid cancers as well as endometrial carcinoma. Minor diagnostic criteria include hamartomatous intestinal polyps, lipomas, fibrocystic disease of the breasts, and fibromas. Mutations of PTEN can also be found in patients with Lhermitte–Duclos disease (dysplastic gangliocytoma of the cerebellum). The authors report the case of a 17-year-old girl who had a severe cyanotic cardiac malformation for which surgery was not advised and a heterozygous missense mutation (c.406T>C) in exon 5 of PTEN resulting in the substitution of cysteine for arginine (p.Cys136Arg) in the protein, which was also found in her mother and sister. The patient presented in the pediatric emergency department with severe spastic paraparesis. A magnetic resonance imaging study of the spine showed vertebral hemangiomas at multiple levels, but stenosis and compression were maximal at level T5–6. An emergency T5–6 laminectomy was performed. The decompression was extremely hemorrhagic because the rapid onset of paraparesis necessitated prompt treatment, and there was no time to perform preoperative embolization. The patient's postoperative course was uneventful with gradual recovery.

This represents the first report of an association of a PTEN mutation and multiple vertebral angiomas. The authors did not treat the remaining angiomas because surgical treatment was contraindicated without previous embolization, which in itself would present considerable risk in this patient with congenital cyanotic heart disease.