Temporal sylvian fissure arachnoid cyst in children: treatment outcome following microsurgical cyst fenestration with special emphasis on cyst reduction and subdural collection

Tadanori Tomita*, Amanda M. Kwasnicki, Laura S. McGuire, Arthur J. Dipatri

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Objectives: Controversy remains regarding surgical managements of sylvian fissure arachnoid cyst (SFAC). This review presents our experience in the microsurgical fenestration of pediatric patients with SFAC to define surgical indication, and risks and benefits with special emphasis on postoperative subdural fluid collection (SDFC) and cyst size reduction. Methods: Thirty-four children with SFAC who underwent microsurgical cyst fenestration at a single institution over a 10-year period were retrospectively reviewed for their clinical presentation, neuroimaging findings, and postsurgical course. The SFACs were classified by a novel grading system based on the degree of arachnoid cyst extension from the sylvian fissure to the insular cistern shown on MR images: grade 0 — little or no prominence of sylvian fissure, grade I — SFAC confined to the sylvian fissure, grade II — SFAC partially extending to the insular cistern, grade III — SFAC extending to the entire insular cistern. Results: There were 26 males and 8 females. SFAC was present in the left side in 24. Twelve patients presented with cyst rupturing to the subdural space. Cyst grading did not show significant difference compared with rupture status (p > 0.9). All patients underwent microsurgical cyst fenestration. Postoperative SDFC is common but often resolved overtime in two-thirds of the cases with the mean average of 6 months. However, 3 patients had symptomatic postoperative SDFC and needed reoperation shortly after the first operation. Microsurgical cyst fenestrations for SFAC effectively resolved the presenting symptoms and often showed restorations of intracranial structures on follow-up imaging. Cyst resolution or reduction greater than 75% was noted in 61.8% of the patients postoperatively which was noted in a half of the SFAC of children even with age of 11 years or older. During the follow-up, no cyst recurrence or SDFC was noted. Patients with greater surgical reduction of cyst size tended to occur in younger children, and those with lower MR grade. Conclusion: Our results showed a high reduction rate of SFAC and brain re-expansion after microsurgical fenestration together with symptomatic improvements regardless the patient’s age. Considering the developing CNS during childhood, reductions of a large space-occupying lesion followed by restorations of the structural integrity of the developing brain are very desirable. However, a multi-center cooperative prospective longitudinal study on long-term comparative data of those treated and untreated of neuro-psychological outcome and cyst rupture incidence is needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)127-139
Number of pages13
JournalChild's Nervous System
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2023


  • Arachnoid cyst
  • Children
  • Cyst fenestration
  • Micro-neurosurgery
  • Subdural collection
  • Sylvian fissure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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