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Pediatr Neurosurg. 2012;48(4):229-35. doi: 10.1159/000349915. Epub 2013 Mar 23.

Terminal myelocystocele: a series of 30 cases and review of the literature.

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Department of Neurosurgery, Cardioneurosciences Centre, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India.



Terminal myelocystocele is a rare form of spinal dysraphism. We report on the clinical and radiological features, surgical procedures and outcome of myelocystocele.


Thirty patients, with an age range of 1 month to 15 years, which included 16 (53.3%) male children, had undergone surgery for terminal myelocystocele between 2000 and 2010. We had retrospectively analyzed their data. All patients had a swelling in the lumbosacral region which had a healthy skin cover. Twenty (66.7%) patients had presented with weakness, while 10 (33.7%) patients had no deficits at all. Bladder bowel involvement was evident in 12 (40%) cases. All patients had undergone excision of the meningocele sacs, the tethering bands were lysed, and filum was detethered. Ventriculoperitoneal shunt was done in 3 (10%) patients. Complications like pseudomeningocele were seen in 6 (20%) patients, cerebrospinal fluid leak in 4 (13.3%) patients, and meningitis and surgical site infection in 1 (3.3%) patient each. The mean follow-up period was 15.2 (1-60) months. The status of all patients with no preoperative deficits remained unchanged. Out of 20 patients with motor weakness, 12 (60%) had improvement; worsening was observed in 1 patient.


Though rare, the possibility of myelocystocele should be kept in mind when treating lumbosacral region masses as they have a better prognosis when compared with other masses in the region due to spinal dysraphism. We recommend early surgery in all diagnosed cases.

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