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Spontaneous regression of a diffuse brainstem lesion in the neonate

Report of two cases and review of the literature

Willard Darrell Thompson Jr. and Edward J. Kosnik

P The authors present two cases of diffuse brainstem lesions that regressed without treatment. Two newborns presented with cranial nerve palsies and limb weakness at birth. Magnetic resonance (MR) images obtained in the 1st week of life revealed a large, expansive pontomedullary lesion in each patient. Findings of clinical and imaging examinations were highly consistent with the characteristics of diffuse brainstem glioma. After consultation with the parents of both infants, all parties agreed to forgo the treatment modalities available at the time. Neither patient underwent surgery, radiation treatment, or chemotherapy; both underwent routine neurological and MR imaging examinations. Within weeks the patient in Case 1 started to improve clinically and at 4 years of age has reached nearly all developmental milestones. Serial MR images demonstrated a steady decrease in the size of the lesion. The patient in Case 2 improved in a similar manner and is now 10 years old. The findings from these two cases should encourage families and clinicians to consider that a subcategory of diffuse lesions may exist, particularly in the neonatal period. It must be stressed, however, that nearly all patients with diffuse brainstem lesions experience a poor outcome, regardless of tumor grade or treatment. Brainstem gliomas, spontaneous regression of central nervous system tumors, and the differential diagnoses of brainstem lesions are discussed.

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Pate J. Duddleston, Julian L. Gendreau, Kristen A. Little, Amber Andrews, and Willard D. Thompson Jr.

Extraction of a bullet fragment seated in deep brain parenchyma utilizing a neuroendoscope has not been previously reported in the literature. The authors report the case of a 4-year-old patient who presented after a pellet gun injury with a projectile located 6 cm intracranially and lodged within the posterior thalamus and near the posterior limb of the internal capsule. Initial operative repair included repair of a CSF leak with duraplasty, minimal brain debridement, and elevation of a depressed skull fracture. Subsequent CT at 2 months postoperatively revealed migration of the deep intracranial pellet. This finding correlated with intermittent worsening neurological symptoms and signs. A rigid 3-mm neuroendoscope with CT stereotactic navigation was then used to remove the pellet fragment from the thalamus. The patient returned home with alleviation of clinical symptoms and an uneventful postoperative recovery. This case demonstrates that navigation-guided neuroendoscopy can be successfully used to remove projectile fragments from deep brain structures, especially when the migration is along the initial path of the bullet. This technique represents another low-risk curative option in the management of retained bullet fragments in gunshot wound injuries to the head.

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Gladstone Airewele, Geoffrey Miller, Charles McCluggage, and Murali Chintagumpala