Fusiform dilation of the carotid artery following radical resection of pediatric craniopharyngiomas: natural history and management

Neurosurg Focus. 2010 Apr;28(4):E14. doi: 10.3171/2010.1.FOCUS09296.


Object: Fusiform dilation of the supraclinoid internal carotid artery (FDCA) is a reported occurrence following surgery for suprasellar tumors, in particular craniopharyngiomas. We report our experience of the incidence and natural history of FDCA following aggressive surgical resection of craniopharyngiomas in children.

Methods: Between 1986 and 2006, 86 patients under the age of 21 underwent radical resection of craniopharyngiomas at our institution. Ten cases with < 1 year of follow-up imaging (6), perioperative death (3), or nonsuprasellar tumors (1) were excluded. Data were retrospectively collected on the remaining 76 patients (43 male, 33 female; mean age 9.5 years; mean tumor size 3.3 cm) to determine the risk factors for and the rate and clinical significance of FDCA.

Results: Fifty patients had primary tumors and 26 patients received treatment before referral to our center. Sixty-six children (87%) had gross-total resection. At a mean follow-up time of 9.9 years, FDCA had developed in 7 patients (9.2%), all of whom had primary tumors and gross-total resection. The mean time to onset of FDCA was 6.8 months (range 3-11 months) with stabilization occurring at mean of 17.7 months (range 9-29.5 months). The mean size of the aneurysms was 9.1 mm (range 7.1-12 mm). After arrest, no lesions showed continued growth on serial imaging or produced symptoms or required treatment. There were no significant differences in age, sex, tumor size, pre- or retrochiasmatic location, extent of resection, or surgical approach (p > 0.05) between patients with and without FDCA.

Conclusions: Fusiform dilation of the supraclinoid internal carotid artery occurred in almost 10% of children following radical resection of craniopharyngiomas. In agreement with other reports, the authors concluded that FDCA probably occurs as a result of surgical manipulation of the supraclinoid carotid artery and should be managed conservatively because very few patients exhibit continued symptoms or experience growth or rupture of the lesion.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Carotid Arteries / pathology
  • Carotid Artery Diseases / etiology
  • Carotid Artery Injuries / etiology*
  • Carotid Artery Injuries / pathology
  • Carotid Artery, Internal / pathology
  • Child
  • Craniopharyngioma / surgery*
  • Dilatation, Pathologic / epidemiology
  • Dilatation, Pathologic / etiology*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neurosurgical Procedures / adverse effects*
  • Neurosurgical Procedures / methods
  • Pituitary Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Treatment Outcome