The authors of this retrospective review and analysis of the literature cover an institutional series of neurenteric cysts of the central nervous system in children treated in the magnetic resonance imaging era during a 14-year period.
Sixteen patients 20 days to 14 years of age are described. The most frequent signs and symptoms at presentation were acute spinal cord compression (11 patients), paresis of a cranial nerve (two patients), meningitis or infection (two patients), and intracranial hypertension (one patient). The locations of the cysts were as follows: in the spinal canal in 12 patients (75%), the clivus in two (12.5%), the cavernous sinus in one (6%), and the craniocervical junction in one (6%). The most common location was the ventral aspect of the spinal canal (seven patients). Associated spinal deformities were found in five patients. All patients underwent surgery, with a posterior approach used in all of the spinal cases. Total resection was achieved in 12 of the 16 cases and partial resection in four. Of the four patients who underwent subtotal resection, the cyst recurred in three, requiring further surgery.
Neurenteric cysts are uncommon congenital anomalies that can present acutely in the pediatric population. Total removal is usually possible and is associated with a good prognosis.