Brainstem hypertrophy, acquired Chiari malformation, syringomyelia, and hydrocephalus: diagnostic di

Journal of Neurosurgery: Pediatrics, Volume 8, Issue 2, Page 184-188, August 2011.

Rohan Ramakrishna, M.D., Jeffrey C. Mai, M.D., Ph.D., Tanya Filardi, M.D., Samuel R. Browd, M.D., Ph.D., and Richard G. Ellenbogen, M.D. This 18-year-old woman presented with symptoms of right upper-extremity ataxia and imaging evidence of syringomyelia and an acquired Chiari malformation after a previous suboccipital decompression for cerebellar hemorrhage. The patient underwent posterior fossa reexploration to detether any adhesions and release scar tissue in the fourth ventricular outlet. Her symptoms of syringomyelia resolved but she then developed symptoms of lethargy, confusion, and amnesia in addition to ataxia. Repeat neural axis imaging revealed resolution of the syrinx but prominent brainstem hypertrophy. Eventually, the placement of a ventriculoperitoneal shunt resulted in the resolution of both symptoms and brainstem hypertrophy. In the present article, the authors elaborate on this first reported case of a reversible brainstem hypertrophy responsive to CSF shunting.


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