Arachnoid cysts (ACs) are most frequently located in the middle cranial fossa. Some patients are asymptomatic whereas others exhibit signs of increased intracranial pressure, seizures, or cognitive and behavioral symptoms. When ACs do require treatment, the optimal surgical technique remains controversial. This study was conducted to assess the most effective surgical treatment for these cysts.
The authors retrospectively reviewed 240 temporal intracranial ACs managed over a 25-year period in their pediatric neurosurgical unit. Pre- and posttreatment results were clinically and radiologically assessed.
A majority of male patients (74.6%) with an overall median age of 6.9 years were included. The mean cyst size was 107 cm3; the Galassi classification showed 99 (41.3%) type I, 77 (32.1%) type II, and 64 (26.7%) type III cysts. Forty-four ACs (18.3%) were diagnosed after rupture. Surgical management was performed by microsurgery (28.3%), endoscopic cyst fenestration (14.6%), cystoperitoneal shunting (CPS; 16.2%), or subdural shunting (10%). Furthermore, 74 children (30.8%) did not undergo operations. After a mean follow-up of 4.1 years, the mean percentage decrease in cyst volume and the overall rate of clinical improvement did not significantly differ. The endoscopy group had earlier complications and a shorter event-free survival (EFS) time (EFS at 3 years = 67.7%, vs 71.5% and 90.5% for CPS and microsurgery, respectively; p < 0.007) and presented with more subdural hematomas compared to the microsurgery group (p < 0.005). The microsurgery group also showed a tendency for longer cystocisternostomy permeability than the endoscopy group.
Concerning the management of unruptured symptomatic temporal ACs, microsurgery appears to be the most effective treatment, with longer EFS and fewer complications compared to shunting or endoscopy.