Management of Suprasellar Arachnoid Cysts in Children: A Systematic Literature Review Highlighting Modern Endoscopic Approaches

World Neurosurg. 2020 Sep:141:e316-e323. doi: 10.1016/j.wneu.2020.05.122. Epub 2020 May 21.


Objective: Suprasellar arachnoid cysts are a rare but important pediatric neurosurgical pathology with unknown ideal management. They have been previously managed with techniques including open craniotomy with microsurgical fenestration, cystoperitoneal shunting, endoscopic ventriculocystostomy, and endoscopic ventriculocystocisternostomy (VCC), without a consistent consensus on the best surgical approach. We present an overview of the literature on surgical management of suprasellar arachnoid cysts.

Methods: A literature search following the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines was conducted for all articles evaluating treatment modalities for suprasellar arachnoid cysts, using PubMed, OVID, and Web of Science.

Results: Twenty-five articles on management of suprasellar arachnoid cysts in children were identified. Few published studies exist that examine different types of surgical management across a single institution. The majority of studies reported best clinical outcomes in patients treated with endoscopic approaches when compared with microsurgical fenestration or cystoperitoneal shunting, reporting lower rates of infection, shunt dependence, and need for revision in addition to better resolution of clinical symptoms. Furthermore, most studies argue that VCC is superior to ventriculocystostomy, offering better long-term improvement of clinical symptoms and lower rates of failure.

Conclusions: This study examines the current literature on suprasellar arachnoid cyst surgical management to conclude that an endoscopic approach in comparison with other approaches has the best outcomes. Of the endoscopic options available, VCC provides patients with the best long-term resolution of symptoms and the lowest need for revision. These findings should be further investigated with larger multicenter studies to further compare different surgical techniques and outcomes.

Keywords: Endoscopic surgery; Hydrocephalus; Prepontine arachnoid cysts; Suprasellar arachnoid cysts; Ventriculocystocisternostomy; Ventriculocystostomy.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Arachnoid Cysts / surgery*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Neuroendoscopy / methods*
  • Young Adult