"Growing cerebellum" requiring operative decompression following perinatal ventriculoperitoneal shunting


INTRODUCTION: While cases of acquired Chiari I malformation following ventriculoperitoneal shunting for posthemorrhagic hydrocephalus have been reported, true disproportionate cerebellar growth is rare, with no previous cases requiring posterior fossa decompression reported.

CLINICAL PRESENTATION: We present a premature neonate who underwent ventriculoperitoneal shunt placement for suspected posthemorrhagic hydrocephalus. He subsequently developed a symptomatic Chiari I malformation with volumetric measurements demonstrating disproportionate growth of the cerebellum. He did not demonstrate thickening of the supratentorial or posterior fossa cranium. The patient underwent an extradural posterior fossa decompression, with resolution of symptoms.

OUTCOME AND CONCLUSIONS: We review the extant literature regarding the development of Chiari malformation type I as a manifestation of craniocerebral disproportion (CCD) following shunt placement for posthemorrhagic hydrocephalus of prematurity. Most previous reports reflect a mechanism that includes underdevelopment of the intracranial posterior fossa (or supratentorial) volume. The case presented in this report, as well as one additional case, indicates that there may exist a variant mechanism, characterized by rapid growth of the cerebellum itself, in the absence of one of the rare syndromes associated with primary macrocerebellum. While this case was effectively managed with extradural posterior fossa decompression, previous reports indicate that supratentorial cranial expansion procedures are preferable in some cases. As such, pediatric neurosurgeons should be able to distinguish the patterns of craniocerebral disproportion when considering treatment options for these patients. Further investigation regarding these uncommon patients may better describe the underlying mechanisms.

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