Primary intracranial ependymal cysts are extremely rare. Similar to congenital intraparenchymal cysts in the mesencephalon they usually occur with symptoms of an occlusive hydrocephalus or symptoms like Parinaud syndrome, dizziness, or gait disturbance. The objective of this study was to evaluate the surgical methods for the treatment of these cysts and the clinical outcome of the patients.
The authors present the clinical records of 8 patients who were treated in their department for symptomatic mesencephalic ependymal cysts in the past 10 years. The patient age ranged from 22 to 60 years with a mean age of 44 years. In 4 cases the authors performed a suboccipital infratentorial supracerebellar approach by using endoscope-assisted microsurgery. The other 4 patients underwent a pure endoscopic procedure over a frontal bur hole trepanation.
Four patients became symptom free, and the remaining 4 improved significantly after a mean follow-up duration of 38.5 months (range 5–119 months). One patient underwent 2 operations: first a ventriculocystostomy and 4 months later endoscopic third ventriculostomy because of recurrent hydrocephalus. In 1 case a second surgery was necessary because of a wound infection. In all of the patients an adequate fenestration of the cyst was achieved.
A symptomatic mesencephalic ependymal cyst is an indication for neurosurgical intervention. These cysts can be treated successfully and most likely definitively by a pure endoscopic or endoscope-assisted keyhole neurosurgical technique. There were no morbid conditions or death due to the procedures in this group of 8 patients. Therefore, the authors regard these surgical procedures to be good alternatives to treatments such as shunt placement or stereotactic aspiration of the cysts.