Cyst-cisternal shunting for cystic multirecurrent brainstem epidermoid: case report and literature review

Acta Neurochir (Wien). 2016 Jun;158(6):1197-201. doi: 10.1007/s00701-016-2813-5. Epub 2016 Apr 22.


Background: Surgical treatment of recurrent, posterior cranial fossa epidermoids in multioperated patients carries significant morbidity, mainly due to tumor adhesion to cranial nerves and vessels, and brainstem involvement. Radical resection is often not feasible; therefore surgery should aim to restore cerebrospinal fluid circulation, release engulfed neurovascular structures, and relieve brainstem compression. Intra-axial epidermoids are extremely rare. We present an innovative surgical technique of a cyst-cisternal shunting to treat cystic recurrent, unresectable brainstem epidermoids.

Methods: The surgical technique is stepwise described and a case illustration is reported. The pertinent literature has been reviewed.

Results: Few cases of brain stem epidermoid tumors have been described to date. The surgical steps of this technique and related intraoperative images are provided. One case illustration regarding the resection of a large recurrent cystic intra-axial brainstem epidermoid is reported to demonstrate the application of the technique in a clinical setting. The patient was followed up for 14 years and did not experience any recurrence, showing a stable disease at the last follow-up control. A systematic review of the competent literature has been provided.

Conclusions: Cyst-cisternal shunting in case of recurrent, brainstem epidermoid is a safe and long-term effective technique to relieve mass effect into the brainstem.

Keywords: Brain tumor; Brainstem; Cyst; Epidermoid; Shunt.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Brain Diseases / surgery*
  • Child
  • Cranial Fossa, Posterior / surgery*
  • Cranial Nerves / pathology
  • Epidermal Cyst / surgery*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Neurosurgical Procedures / adverse effects
  • Neurosurgical Procedures / methods*
  • Postoperative Complications / prevention & control