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Journal of Craniovertebral Junction and Spine
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CASE REPORT
Year : 2013  |  Volume : 4  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 43-45  

Giant posterior fossa arachnoid cyst causing tonsillar herniation and cervical syringomyelia


1 Department of Neurosurgery, Anesthesia and Pathology, SP Institute of Neurosciences, Solapur, Maharashtra, India
2 Department of Neurology, Anesthesia and Pathology, SP Institute of Neurosciences, Solapur, Maharashtra, India
3 Department of Pathology, Yashodhara Super Speciality Hospital, Solapur, Maharashtra, India
4 Department of Neurosurgery, Narayana Medical College and Hospital, Chinthareddypalem, Nellore, Andhra Pradesh, India

Date of Web Publication19-Nov-2013

Correspondence Address:
Amit Agrawal
Department of Neurosurgery, Narayana Medical College & Hospital, Chinthareddypalem, Nellore - 524 003, Andhra Pradesh
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0974-8237.121627

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   Abstract 

Acquired cerebellar tonsillar herniation and syringomyelia associated with posterior fossa mass lesions is an exception rather than the rule. In the present article, we describe the neuroimaging findings in a case of 28-year-old female patient presented with a history of paraesthesia involving right upper limb of 8-month duration. Magnetic resonance imaging showed a giant retrocerebellar arachnoid causing tonsillar herniation with cervical syringomyelia. The findings in the present case supports that the one of the primary mechanism for the development of syringomyelia may be the obstruction to the flow of cerebrospinal fluid causing alterations in the passage of extracellular fluid in the spinal cord and leading to syringomyelia.

Keywords: Arachnoid cyst, Chiari malformation, hydrocephalus, posterior fossa, syringomyelia


How to cite this article:
Joshi VP, Valsangkar A, Nivargi S, Vora N, Dekhne A, Agrawal A. Giant posterior fossa arachnoid cyst causing tonsillar herniation and cervical syringomyelia. J Craniovert Jun Spine 2013;4:43-5

How to cite this URL:
Joshi VP, Valsangkar A, Nivargi S, Vora N, Dekhne A, Agrawal A. Giant posterior fossa arachnoid cyst causing tonsillar herniation and cervical syringomyelia. J Craniovert Jun Spine [serial online] 2013 [cited 2019 Mar 20];4:43-5. Available from: http://www.jcvjs.com/text.asp?2013/4/1/43/121627


   Introduction Top


Acquired cerebellar tonsillar herniation and syringomyelia associated with posterior fossa mass lesions is an exception rather than the rule. [1],[2],[3],[4] There are only few case reports where the Chiari malformation and syringomyelia were probably caused by an arachnoid cyst resulting in tonsillar herniation [2],[5],[6],[7]] either by retrocerebellar [8],[9] or at the level of foramen magnum. [10] In the present article, we describe the neuroimaging findings in a case of giant retrocerebellar arachnoid causing tonsillar herniation with cervical syringomyelia.


   Case report Top


This was a case report of a 28-year-old female patient presented with a history of paraesthesia involving right upper limb of 8 months duration. She had a spontaneous abortion 3 weeks ago. Following that, she developed sudden onset of weakness of both lower limbs (left side greater than the right side). There was a history of headache on and off increased by coughing. Her bowel and bladder functions were normal and also general and systemic examination was normal. Cranial nerves were normal. Fundus examination was normal. She had a weakness of all four limbs (lower limbs more than upper limbs). Deep tendon reflexes were exaggerated in lower limbs and sluggish in upper limbs. Planters were extensors. There was also dissociated sensory loss on her right arm and shoulder. Patient was investigated with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) brain and cervical spine and it showed giant retrocerebellar arachnoid cyst extending into the left cerebellopontine angle causing descent of the cerebellar tonsils across the foramen magnum with a syringomyelic cavity extending from C1 down and associated ventriculomegaly [Figure 1]. The patient underwent midline suboccipital craniectomy, foramen magnum decompression and C1 arch excision with duroplasty. Part of the cyst wall was excised. Histopathological examination of the cyst wall showed a cuboidal layer of arachnoid cells suggestive of arachnoid cyst [Figure 2]. Follow-up images showed a reduction in the size of the cyst and reduction in the mass effect over cerebellum and brain stem structures [Figure 3]. At 10 months follow-up, patient made an uneventful recovery and doing well.
Figure 1: Magnetic resonance T2W images showing (a) a large posterior fossa arachnoid cyst more on left side extending into the left cerebellopontine angle with marked compression of the left cerebellar hemisphere and (b) there is caudal displacement of the cerebellar tonsils with obstruction of foramen magnum and associated syringomyelia

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Figure 2: (a-c) Section showing cyst wall lined by meningeal cells showing stratifi cation with subepithelial tissue showing acute infl ammatory cells (H and E, ×100), (d) Section showing cyst wall lined by meningeal cells showing stratifi cation with neutrophilic infi ltrate and the subepithelial fi brocollagenous tissue shows acute inflammatory infi ltrate (H and E, ×400)

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Figure 3: Following magnetic resonance images showing the reduction in the size of cyst and also reduction in the mass effect over cerebellum and brain stem structures

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   Discussion Top


Arachnoid cysts accounting for approximately 1% of all intracranial mass lesions are benin collections of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) developing as the result of an abnormal duplication of the arachnoid during the development of the brain. [11] With the advent of MRI many cases of large arachnoid cysts associated causing tonsillar herniation and syringomyelia have been recognized. [12],[13],[14],[15] The primary mechanism for the development of syringomyelia is the obstruction to the flow of CSF causing alterations in the passage of extracellular fluid (ECF) in the spinal cord and leading to syringomyelia. [3],[4],[5],[6],[12],[16],[17] These patients with secondary cerebellar tonsillar herniation with syringomyelia usually present with the features due to mass effect of the primary lesion and associated syrinx. [8],[10],[16] Removal of the underlying pathology and establishing the normal CSF flow at the foramen magnum is the main stay of treatment for acquired Chiari and syringomyelia. [1],[2],[3],[5],[12] Arachnoid cysts can be managed with a variety of procedures including foramen magnum decompression, with or without cyst removal, cysto-peritoneal shunting or endoscopic cyst fenestration [15],[18],[19] As in the present case, posterior fossa decompression and cyst excision result in a good outcome. [1],[10],[20]


   Conclusion Top


Based on the above study, it has been suggested that a simple blockage of CSF flow at the foramen magnum plays a vital role in the development of syrinx formation. The findings in the present case supports that the one of the primary mechanism for the development of syringomyelia may be the obstruction to the flow of CSF causing alterations in the passage of ECF in the spinal cord and leading to syringomyelia.

 
   References Top

1.Fox B, Muzumdar D, DeMonte F. Resolution of tonsillar herniation and cervical syringomyelia following resection of a large petrous meningioma: Case report and review of literature. Skull Base 2005;15:89-97.  Back to cited text no. 1
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2.Bhatoe HS. Tonsillar herniation and syringomyelia secondary to a posterior fossa tumour. Br J Neurosurg 2004;18:70-1.  Back to cited text no. 2
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3.Kurabe S, Sasaki O, Mitsuhashi D, Koike T. Growing posterior fossa arachnoid cyst causing tonsillar herniation and hydrocephalus. Arch Neurol 2011;68:1606-7.  Back to cited text no. 3
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4.Muzumdar D, Ventureyra EC. Tonsillar herniation and cervical syringomyelia in association with posterior fossa tumors in children: A case-based update. Childs Nerv Syst 2006;22:454-9.  Back to cited text no. 4
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5.Wang CC. Adult medulloblastoma associated with syringomyelia: A case report. Cancer Biol Med 2012;9:137-40.  Back to cited text no. 5
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6.Anegawa S, Hayashi T, Torigoe R, Iwaisako K, Higashioka H. Cerebellopontine angle meningioma causing asymptomatic syringomyelia - Case report. Neurol Med Chir (Tokyo) 1997;37:624-6.  Back to cited text no. 6
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7.Suyama K, Ujifuku K, Hirao T, Takahata H, Ito M, Yonekura M, et al. Symptomatic syringomyelia associated with a dermoid tumor in the posterior fossa. Neurol Med Chir (Tokyo) 2009;49:434-7.  Back to cited text no. 7
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8.Martínez-Lage JF, Ruiz-Espejo A, Guillén-Navarro E, Almagro MJ. Posterior fossa arachnoid cyst, tonsillar herniation, and syringomyelia in trichorhinophalangeal syndrome Type I. J Neurosurg 2008;109:746-50.  Back to cited text no. 8
    
9.Martínez-Lage JF, Almagro MJ, Ros de San Pedro J, Ruiz-Espejo A, Felipe-Murcia M. Regression of syringomyelia and tonsillar herniation after posterior fossa arachnoid cyst excision. Case report and literature review. Neurocirugia (Astur) 2007;18:227-31.  Back to cited text no. 9
    
10.Huang H, Li Y, Xu K, Li Y, Qu L, Yu J. Foramen magnum arachnoid cyst induces compression of the spinal cord and syringomyelia: Case report and literature review. Int J Med Sci 2011;8:345-50.  Back to cited text no. 10
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11.Cincu R, Agrawal A, Eiras J. Intracranial arachnoid cysts: Current concepts and treatment alternatives. Clin Neurol Neurosurg 2007;109:837-43.  Back to cited text no. 11
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12.D'Osvaldo DH, Otero JM, Mosconi JB, Oviedo JD. Regression of symptomatic syringomyelia after resection of posterior fossa tumour. Acta Neurochir (Wien) 2002;144:385-8.  Back to cited text no. 12
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13.Jaiswal AK, Chandra PS. Cerebellopontine angle meningioma with acquired chiari and syringomyelia: Neuroimage. Neurol India 2001;49:323.  Back to cited text no. 13
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14.Pillay PK, Awad IA, Little JR, Hahn JF. Symptomatic Chiari malformation in adults: A new classification based on magnetic resonance imaging with clinical and prognostic significance. Neurosurgery 1991;28:639-45.  Back to cited text no. 14
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15.Arunkumar MJ, Korah I, Chandy MJ. Dynamic CSF flow study in the pathophysiology of syringomyelia associated with arachnoid cysts of the posterior fossa. Br J Neurosurg 1998;12:33-6.  Back to cited text no. 15
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16.Bouras TI, Kouyialis AT, Boviatsis EJ, Sakas DE. Symptomatic syringomyelia secondary to clinically obscure infratentorial tumour. Br J Neurosurg 2006;20:48-50.  Back to cited text no. 16
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17.Goel A, Desai K. Surgery for syringomyelia: An analysis based on 163 surgical cases. Acta Neurochir (Wien) 2000;142:293-301.  Back to cited text no. 17
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18.Jain R, Sawlani V, Phadke R, Kumar R. Retrocerebellar arachnoid cyst with syringomyelia: A case report. Neurol India 2000;48:81-3.  Back to cited text no. 18
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19.Lee CS, Cooper WA. Asbestos exposure and lung cancer. Pathology 2004;36:513-4.  Back to cited text no. 19
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20.Samii M, Carvalho GA, Schuhmann MU, Matthies C. Arachnoid cysts of the posterior fossa. Surg Neurol 1999;51:376-82.  Back to cited text no. 20
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    Figures

  [Figure 1], [Figure 2], [Figure 3]



 

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