A novel method for stereotactic, endoscope-assisted transtentorial placement of a shunt catheter into symptomatic posterior fossa cysts: Clinical article

Michael S. Turner, Ha Son Nguyen, Troy D. Payner, Aaron A. Cohen-Gadol

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Scopus citations


Object. Posterior fossa cysts are usually divided into Dandy-Walker malformations, arachnoid cysts, and isolated and/or trapped fourth ventricles. Shunt placement is a mainstay treatment for decompression of these fluid collections when their expansion becomes symptomatic. Although several techniques to drain symptomatic posterior fossa cysts have been described, each method carries its own advantages and disadvantages. This article describes an alternative technique. Methods. In 10 patients, the authors used an alternative technique involving stereotactic and endoscopic methods to place a catheter in symptomatic posterior fossa cysts across the tentorium. Discussion of these cases is included, along with a review of various approaches to shunt placement in this region and recommendations regarding the proposed technique. Results. No patient suffered intracranial hemorrhage related to the procedure and catheter implantation. All 3 patients who underwent placement of a new transtentorial cystoperitoneal shunt and a new ventriculoperitoneal shunt did not suffer any postoperative complication; a decrease in the size of their posterior fossa cysts was evident on CT scans obtained during the 1st postoperative day. Follow-up CT scans demonstrated either stable findings or further interval decrease in the size of their cysts. In 1 patient, the postoperative head CT demonstrated that the transtentorial catheter terminated posterior to the right parietal occipital region without entering the retrocerebellar cyst. This patient underwent a repeat operation for proximal shunt revision, resulting in an acceptable catheter implantation. The patient in Case 8 suffered from a shunt infection and subsequently underwent hardware removal and aqueductoplasty with stent placement. The patient in Case 9 demonstrated a slight increase in fourth ventricle size and was returned to the operating room. Exploration revealed a kink in the tubing connecting the distal limb of the Y connector to the valve. The Y connector was replaced with a T connector, and 1 week later, CT scans exhibited interval decompression of the ventricles. This patient later presented with cranial wound breakdown and an exposed shunt. His shunt hardware was removed and he was treated with antibiotics. He later underwent reimplantation of a lateral ventricular and transtentorial shunt and suffered no other complications during a 3-year follow-up period. Conclusions. The introduction of endoscopic and stereotactic techniques has expanded the available treatment possibilities for posterior fossa cysts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)15-21
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Neurosurgery: Pediatrics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1 2011


  • Endoscope
  • Posterior fossa cyst
  • Shunt
  • Surgical technique
  • Transtentorial approach

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Surgery
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health

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