Introduction: Pseudotumor cerebri is a condition characterized by raised intracranial pressure, normal CSF contents, and normal brain with normal or small ventricles on imaging studies. It affects predominantly obese women of childbearing age; however, its incidence seems to be increasing among adolescent and children. While among older children the clinical picture is similar to that of adults, younger children present demographic and clinical peculiarities. Different diagnostic criteria for adults and pre-pubertal children have been proposed. Etiology and pathogenesis are still unclear, particular concerning the role of obstruction to venous outflow.
Methods: An extensive literature review concerning all the aspects of pseudotumor cerebri has been performed, both among adults and pre-pubertal children.
Conclusion: Pseudotumor cerebri is an avoidable cause of visual loss, both in adults and children. Few diagnostic measures are usually sufficient to determine the correct diagnosis. Since pseudotumor cerebri is a diagnosis of exclusion, the differential diagnosis work out is of special importance. Modern neuroimaging techniques, especially magnetic resonance imaging and magnetic resonance venography may clarify the role of obstruction to venous outflow in each case. Various therapeutic options are available: medical, surgical, and endovascular procedures may be used to prevent irreversible visual loss. Treatment is usually effective, and most patients will experience complete resolution of symptoms without persistent deficits.