Intraoperative Visualization of a Spinal Arachnoid Cyst Using Pyoktanin Blue

World Neurosurg. 2018 Jan:109:18-23. doi: 10.1016/j.wneu.2017.09.031. Epub 2017 Sep 14.


Background: Spinal arachnoid cysts (SACs) are filled with cerebrospinal fluid, and they include the arachnoid membrane, making it difficult to distinguish the walls of the cyst from the arachnoid membrane and excise the cyst as a lump. Here we report a technique for the intraoperative visualization of SACs, involving the use of pyoktanin blue.

Methods: Four patients with spinal intradural arachnoid cysts underwent total excision of the cysts between October 2016 and April 2017. In 1 case, magnetic resonance imaging revealed the cyst clearly, but in the other cases, the cysts were unclear. All cysts were injected with 1% pyoktanin blue (Wako Pure Chemical Industries, Osaka, Japan) diluted 500 times with physiological saline before excision. When it was difficult to distinguish the cyst from the normal arachnoid membrane, 1% pyoktanin blue diluted 1000 times with physiological saline was injected into both the cyst and the subarachnoid space, and the spread of the stain was observed.

Results: The cysts were better visualized after pyoktanin blue injection than before injection. When it was difficult to distinguish the cyst from the normal arachnoid space, pyoktanin blue injection was useful for judging the cyst space. There were no perioperative complications, and the patients' symptoms improved partially or completely after treatment.

Conclusions: Our technique of pyoktanin blue injection into SACs could make their excision easy and safe.

Keywords: Excision; Injection; Pyoktanin blue; Spinal arachnoid cyst.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Arachnoid Cysts / diagnostic imaging
  • Arachnoid Cysts / surgery*
  • Coloring Agents
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intraoperative Care / methods
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Neurosurgical Procedures / methods*
  • Spinal Cord Diseases / diagnostic imaging
  • Spinal Cord Diseases / surgery*


  • Coloring Agents

Supplementary concepts

  • Spinal intradural arachnoid cysts