Cerebellitis as a neurosurgical disease in pediatrics

Eric A. Goethe, Melissa LoPresti, Brandon Bertot, Sandi Lam*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The diagnostic evaluation and role of neurosurgery in the treatment of cerebellitis is unclear. We explore the diagnostic evaluation and subsequent role of neurosurgical intervention in pediatric cerebellitis in a case series, highlighting the diagnostic work up and treatments applied. A retrospective review was conducted of all pediatric patients diagnosed with cerebellitis for whom neurosurgery was consulted at a single center from June 2008 to February 2019. Nine patients, four males (44.4%) and five females (55.6%) were identified. Common presenting symptoms were headache (n = 6, 66.7%), emesis (n = 5, 55.6%), and altered mental status (n = 4, 44.4%). Six (66.7%) had associated infections. Imaging abnormalities included tonsillar ectopia (n = 8, 88.9%), bilateral cerebellar T2 hyperintensity (n = 6, 66.7%), and obstructive hydrocephalus (n = 6, 66.7%). Management included antibiotics, antivirals, corticosteroids, mannitol, and hypertonic saline. Four (44.4%) required external ventricular drain (EVD) placement for a mean 11 days (SD 6.8, range 4–20) for hydrocephalus; none required additional neurosurgical interventions. Seven patients (77.8%) required ICU care for a mean 11.7 days (SD 14.0 range 1–42). At follow-up (mean 20.8 months, SD 28.7, range 0.6–64.9), two patients (n = 2, 22.2%) recovered completely, and six (66.7%) were functionally dependent (mRS > 2); the most common residual deficit was cognitive impairment (n = 5, 55.6%). Neurosurgical consultation should be considered in pediatric patients with cerebellitis. In our experience, temporary CSF diversion via an EVD is employed nearly half of the time. The presence of hydrocephalus requiring neurosurgical intervention may be a predictor of severe disease and poor outcome.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)57-63
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Clinical Neuroscience
StatePublished - Mar 2021


  • Central nervous system infections
  • Cerebellar disease
  • Pediatric cerebellitis
  • Pediatric neurosurgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Physiology (medical)


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