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Childs Nerv Syst. 1991 Sep;7(5):257-63.

Primary intracranial arachnoidal cysts. A study of 67 childhood cases.

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  • 1Service of Pediatric Neurology, Hospital La Paz, Madrid, Spain.


Sixty-seven cases (41 males and 26 females) of arachnoidal cysts in children under 11 years are reported. About 53% of cases were diagnosed before 1 year of life. Thirty-one (42.2%) were supratentorial (interhemispheric 9, temporal fossa 10, convexity 5, sylvian fissure 3, supra- and/or retrosellar 4); 31 (46.2%) infratentorial (supra- and/or retrocerebellar 22, foramen of Magendie 3, quadrigeminal cistern 5, pontocerebellar 1); 5 (7.5%) supra- and infratentorial. Macrocephaly was the presenting symptom in 48 cases (71.5%). Associated features were frequent: cranial asymmetry in 24; aqueductal stenosis in 10; agenesis of corpus callosum in 8; deficient cerebellar lobullation in 4; Chiari I malformation in 2; neurofibromatosis type 1 with dysgenetic zones of the brain in 1; arteriovenous malformation in 1. Diagnosis was made at autopsy in six cases in the days before computed tomography and magnetic resonance: three patients had a cyst in the supra- and retrocerebellar midline; two had a cyst in the quadrigeminal cistern and the sixth was a rare case with the cyst passing from the posterior fossa to the left lateral ventricle through a hole in the basal surface of the brain. Small and some middle-sized cysts were not treated. Big and some middle-sized cysts were usually treated by cysto- and/or ventriculoperitoneal shunts. Arachnoidal cysts of the quadrigeminal cistern usually present with aqueductal stenosis and have to be treated with ventriculoperitoneal shunt. Craniotomy and fenestration of the cysts were performed in some cases with good results. The average mental level of these children is usually moderately low.

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