Neonatal anterior cervical arachnoid cyst: Case report and review of the literature

Felipe Jain, Kaisorn Chaichana, Matthew J. McGirt, George I. Jallo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Objective: Anterior cervical arachnoid cysts are rare in the pediatric population, with only 16 cases reported. We present the first case of an anterior cervical arachnoid cyst in a neonate and review the literature on pediatric cervical arachnoid cysts. Clinical presentation: A 16-day-old baby girl with a history of myelomeningocele repair progressively developed symptoms of upper extremity weakness over the course of 2 weeks. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) demonstrated a compressive arachnoid cyst extending from C2 to C7. Intervention: The child was taken for posterior cervical laminoplasty and cyst fenestration. Intraoperatively, diffuse cervical arachnoiditis was noted. Rapid improvement in upper extremity paresis was noted within 24 h of surgery, and MRI confirmed decompression of the cyst. However, flaccid upper extremity paresis recurred within 2 weeks. MRI confirmed recurrence of the anterior cervical arachnoid cyst. The child was taken for a secondary fenestration and stenting of the cyst. Only partial improvement in arm function was noted by 1 month following reoperation. Conclusion: Arachnoid cysts can be effectively treated with surgical fenestration, shunting, and complete or partial excision. Rapid identification and treatment results in improvement in myelopathic symptoms; however, the most efficacious treatment modality remains unknown. Of the 17 cases of anterior cervical arachnoid cysts reported in the literature, 11 (65%) have had either prior myelomeningocele repair or a history of spinal trauma. Anterior cervical arachnoid cysts should be considered in the differential diagnosis of acute onset myelopathy in the pediatric population especially in cases with a history of spinal trauma or myelomeningocele repair.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)965-970
Number of pages6
JournalChild's Nervous System
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2008


  • Arachnoidcyst
  • Neonatal
  • Pediatric
  • Spine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Clinical Neurology


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