Cystic malformations of the posterior cranial fossa originating from a defect of the posterior membranous area. Mega cisterna magna and persisting Blake's pouch: two separate entities

Childs Nerv Syst. 1996 Jun;12(6):303-8. doi: 10.1007/BF00301017.


Cystic malformations of the posterior cranial fossa are all but arachnoid cysts contained within the general context of the Dandy-Walker complex and may be further classified in two groups on the basis of their embryological origin: anomalies of the anterior membranous area (AMA) and anomalies of the posterior membranous area (PMA). Whether the latter group of malformations can be regarded as separate entities is still quite controversial. The present authors give a detailed account of the various embryological stages in the formation of the posterior cranial fossa and its contents and propose the identification of two anomalies derived from a defect of the PMA: the mega cisterna magna (MCM) and the persisting Blake's pouch, a new entity with different MRI features from MCM. Criteria for their recognition are discussed, stressing the capital importance of a differential diagnosis in view of the radically different therapeutic approach.

MeSH terms

  • Arachnoid Cysts / pathology
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cisterna Magna / abnormalities
  • Cisterna Magna / pathology
  • Cranial Fossa, Posterior / abnormalities*
  • Cranial Fossa, Posterior / embryology
  • Cranial Fossa, Posterior / pathology
  • Cysts / classification*
  • Dandy-Walker Syndrome / diagnosis
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging