Persisting embryonal infundibular recess

Case report

Andrej Šteňo M.D.1, A. John Popp M.D.2, Stefan Wolfsberger M.D.3, Vít'azoslav Belan M.D., Ph.D.4, and Juraj Šteňo M.D., Ph.D.1
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  • 1 Department of Neurosurgery, Comenius University School of Medicine;
  • | 4 Department of Radiology, Slovak Medical University Bratislava, Slovakia;
  • | 2 Neurosciences Institute, Albany Medical Center, Albany, New York; and
  • | 3 Department of Neurosurgery, Medical University Vienna, Austria
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Persisting embryonal infundibular recess (PEIR) is a rare anomaly of the third ventricular floor that has an unclear pathogenesis. In all 7 previously described cases, PEIR was present in adult patients and was invariably associated with hydrocephalus and, in 4 reported cases, with an empty sella. These associated findings led to speculations about the role of increased intraventricular pressure in the development of PEIR.

In the present case, PEIR was found in a 24-year-old man without the presence of hydrocephalus or empty sella. Disorders of pituitary function had been present since childhood. Magnetic resonance imaging revealed a cystic expansion in an enlarged sella turcica. A communication between the third ventricle and the sellar cyst was suspected but not apparent. During transcranial surgery, the connection was confirmed. Later, higher-quality MR imaging investigations clearly showed a communication between the third ventricle and the sellar cyst through a channel in the tubular pituitary stalk. This observation and knowledge about the embryology of this region suggests that PEIR may be a developmental anomaly caused by failure of obliteration of the distal part of primary embryonal diencephalic evagination. Thus, PEIR is an extension of the third ventricular cavity into the sella.

Although PEIR is a rare anomaly, it is important to identify when planning a procedure on cystic lesions of the sella. Because attempts at removal using the transsphenoidal approach would lead to a communication between the third ventricle and the nasal cavity, a watertight reconstruction of the sellar floor is necessary.

Abbreviation used in this paper:

PEIR = persisting embryonal infundibular recess.

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