The contribution of prenatal diagnosis to the understanding of malformative intracranial cysts: state of the art

Childs Nerv Syst. 2000 Nov;16(10-11):619-26. doi: 10.1007/s003810000316.


This review evaluates the contribution of prenatal diagnosis to the understanding of intracranial cysts. We describe the outcome of 54 fetuses in which prenatal investigations indicated the presence of such lesions. The cysts were diagnosed between 20 and 30 weeks of gestation. Most (63%) were supratentorial and interhemispheric. There was only a single sylvian cyst. In the infratentorial compartment, median retrocerebellar cysts were predominant. Incisural cysts accounted for 14.8% of the series. Nine pregnancies were interrupted because of the presence of associated brain disorders. Forty-five children are alive. Thirty-four had neuropsychological tests. Cysts rarely progressed, most frequently stabilized and often regressed postnatally. Hydrocephalus was rare. In two cases delivery was precipitated at 36 weeks to allow urgent treatment of rapidly evolving cysts. Thirteen children (28.2%) were treated postnatally, in general for developing cysts. The median follow-up for the whole series exceeds 4 years. Behavior, neurological development, and intelligence are normal in 88% of the cases, and 91% have a normal neurological status. Prognosis at the time of the prenatal consultation was correct in 89% of the cases. We emphasize the value of prenatal magnetic resonance imaging and karyotype studies to limit risks of incorrect prognosis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Brain / abnormalities*
  • Brain / pathology
  • Brain Diseases / congenital*
  • Brain Diseases / diagnosis
  • Cysts / congenital*
  • Cysts / diagnosis
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Intelligence
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Diagnosis*
  • Prognosis