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Papers of the Week

2022 Sep

Asian J Neurosurg



Posterior Cranial Fossa Meningioma Causing Tonsillar Herniation and Giant Cervicothoracic Syringomyelia: Case Report and Review of Literature.



Syringomyelia is a fluid-filled cyst within the spinal cord and is usually associated with conditions that obstruct the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) (flow at the foramen magnum or spinal levels such as Chiari malformations, arachnoiditis, and basilar invaginations). Very rarely, posterior cranial fossa tumors can lead to tonsillar herniation and secondary syringomyelia. There are only nine reported cases in the literature. We report a rare case of a 56-year-old female with posterior cranial meningioma and secondary syringomyelia, admitted with headache, nausea, vomiting, and ataxic gait. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) demonstrated a large posterior fossa lesion causing early ventriculomegaly and a giant cervicothoracic syrinx within the upper spinal cord extending from the hindbrain inferiorly to the level of T8. She underwent a posterior fossa craniectomy with left C1 hemilaminectomy and complete excision of the tumor. In 6 months following her procedure, an MRI scan showed a significant reduction in the caliber of the syringomyelia throughout its length, and there was a significant improvement in symptoms. Although the pathophysiology of syrinx formation is still poorly understood, the alteration of CSF dynamic flow has been implicated. A common unifying cause appears to be increased transcranial difference in intracranial pressure across the foramen magnum causing tonsillar herniation, irrespective of location in the posterior fossa. With high syrinx pressure, mechanical stress-induced structural change of the spinal cord occurs, allowing the persistence and progression of the syrinx in the spinal cord. Syringomyelia appears to be resolved partially or completely after craniotomy and excision of the posterior fossa lesion.