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Surg Neurol Int. 2011;2:159. doi: 10.4103/2152-7806.89859. Epub 2011 Nov 14.

Surgical treatment of cerebellar metastases.

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  • 1Department of Neurosurgery, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, Illinois, USA.



Cerebral metastases are a common neurosurgical finding. Surgery confers several advantages to other therapies, including immediate symptomatic improvement, diagnosis, and relief from corticosteroid dependence. Here we evaluate patients with cerebellar metastases who underwent surgery and compare their findings to those in the literature, and address the benefit of avoiding ventriculo-peritoneal shunting in patients undergoing surgery.


We performed a retrospective analysis involving 50 patients with cerebellar metastases who underwent surgical resection. Ventriculo-peritoneal shunts were placed in patients necessitating permanent CSF drainage. We evaluated presentation, diagnosis, complications, and outcome.


Our review included 21 males and 29 females, 29 to 82 years of age. Primary tumors included lung (48%), breast (14%), GI (14%), endometrial/ovarian (6%), melanoma (6%), sarcoma (4%), lymphoma (4%), laryngeal (2%), and other (2%). Clinical symptoms at presentation commonly were those secondary to elevated intracranial pressure and were the initial complaint in 34% of patients. Preoperatively, 29 patients were noted to have hydrocephalus. Importantly, 76% of these patients were able to avoid placement of a ventriculo-peritoneal shunt following surgery. Only two complications were noted in our series of 50 patients, including a symptomatic pseudomeningocele and a wound infection. No symptomatic postoperative hematoma developed in any surgical case.


A review of the literature has shown a high complication rate in patients undergoing surgical resection of cerebellar metastases. We have shown that surgical resection of cerebellar metastases is a safe procedure and is effective in the treatment of hydrocephalus in the majority of patients harboring cerebellar lesions.


Cerebellar metastases; external ventricular drain; hydrocephalus; ventriculo-peritoneal shunt

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