Protracted course of chemical meningitis following posterior fossa epidermoid cyst excision - A case report

Surg Neurol Int. 2022 Nov 18:13:544. doi: 10.25259/SNI_852_2022. eCollection 2022.


Background: Chemical meningitis, a subtype of aseptic meningitis, as a complication of posterior fossa surgery is not a rare complication. However, the description of a severe protracted course following the surgical resection of an epidermoid cyst has not been described in the current literature. Chemical meningitis is thought to be associated with a hyperreactive inflammatory response, mediated in part by interleukin (IL)-10, IL-1β, and tumor necrosis factor-α, to the postoperative keratin debris from the spontaneous leakage or surgical release of epidermoid contents into subarachnoid spaces, which ultimately can result in patient symptoms of meningitis and hydrocephalus. Often, this remains mild and the recommended management includes a short course administration of corticosteroids.

Case description: The authors report such a case in a patient who underwent a redoresection for a fourth ventricular epidermoid cyst. Postoperatively, the patient returned several times with symptoms of meningitis and hydrocephalus requiring multiple hospitalizations in the ensuing months. The patient required emergent cerebrospinal fluid diversion, further posterior fossa exploration and an extended high-dose corticosteroid treatment regimen.

Conclusion: The authors summarize the current understanding of the biochemical processes involved for the rare presentation of postoperative chemical meningitis.

Keywords: Aseptic meningitis; Chemical meningitis; Epidermoid cyst; Neurosurgery; Posterior fossa.

Publication types

  • Case Reports