Lessons from a case of kleeblattschädel

Case report

Dominic N. P. Thompson F.R.C.S.1, Richard D. Hayward F.R.C.S.1, William J. Harkness F.R.C.S.1, Robert M. Bingham F.R.C.A.1, and Barry M. Jones F.R.C.S.1
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  • 1 The Craniofacial Centre, The Hospital for Sick Children, London, England
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✓ The authors describe the clinical, radiological, and postmortem findings of a case of cloverleaf skull syndrome. The presence of hindbrain herniation, abnormal cervical segmentation, and atlantoaxial subluxation illustrate the anatomical complexity of the skull base and the craniocervical junction that may coexist in this condition. Unavoidable division of occipital emissary veins during elevation of the skin flap at the time of vault remodeling surgery led to an acute and, ultimately, fatal rise in intracranial pressure. Postmortem examination and review of magnetic resonance imaging revealed an anomalous pattern of venous drainage of the intracranial structures that appeared to have developed in response to venous obstruction, secondary to intraosseous venous sinuses and stenosis of the jugular foramina.

The relationship between venous hypertension, hindbrain herniation, and hydrocephalus in this situation is reviewed, and the implications for evaluation and management of this vexing disorder are discussed.

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