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J Neurosurg. 2016 Feb;124(2):334-41. doi: 10.3171/2014.11.JNS141382. Epub 2015 Aug 14.

Finite element analysis of periventricular lucency in hydrocephalus: extravasation or transependymal CSF absorption?

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Departments of 1 Brain and Cognitive Engineering, and.
Biomedical Engineering, Korea University, Seoul, South Korea;
Department of Neurosurgery, Addenbrooke's Hospital, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom.
Department of Neurosurgery, Stanford University School of Medicine, Palo Alto, California;
Department of Rehabilitation, Seoul National University Hospital, College of Medicine, Seoul, South Korea; and.



Periventricular lucency (PVL) is often observed in the hydrocephalic brain on CT or MRI. Earlier studies have proposed the extravasation of ventricular CSF into the periventricular white matter or transependymal CSF absorption as possible causes of PVL in hydrocephalus. However, there is insufficient evidence for either theory to be conclusive.


A finite element (FE) model of the hydrocephalic brain with detailed anatomical geometry was constructed to investigate the possible mechanism of PVL in hydrocephalus. The initiation of hydrocephalus was modeled by applying a transmantle pressure gradient (TPG). The model was exposed to varying TPGs to investigate the effects of different geometrical characteristics on the distribution of PVL. The edema map was derived based on the interstitial pore pressure.


The model simulated the main radiological features of hydrocephalus, i.e., ventriculomegaly and PVL. The degree of PVL, assessed by the pore pressure, was prominent in mild to moderate ventriculomegaly. As the degree of ventriculomegaly exceeded certain values, the pore pressure across the cerebrum became positive, thus inducing the disappearance of PVL.


The results are in accordance with common clinical findings of PVL. The degree of ventriculomegaly significantly influences the development of PVL, but two factors were not linearly correlated. The results are indicative of the transependymal CSF absorption as a possible cause of PVL, but the extravasation theory cannot be formally rejected.


FE = finite element; ICP = intracranial pressure; ISF = interstitial fluid; PVL = periventricular lucency; TPG = transmantle pressure gradient; biomechanics; finite element model; hydrocephalus; intracranial pressure; periventricular lucency; transmantle pressure gradient

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