Prevalence and Outcome of Anterior and Middle Cranial Fossae Encephaloceles without Cerebrospinal Fluid Leak or Meningitis.

TitlePrevalence and Outcome of Anterior and Middle Cranial Fossae Encephaloceles without Cerebrospinal Fluid Leak or Meningitis.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2021
AuthorsArnaout MM, Hanz SZ, Heier LA, Schwartz TH
JournalWorld Neurosurg
Date Published2021 Jan 30

BACKGROUND: With advances in imaging techniques, encephaloceles, meningoceles, and meningoencephaloceles are occasionally discovered incidentally. These can be located in anterior cranial fossa (ACF), mostly protruding into sphenoid and ethmoid sinuses, or middle cranial fossa (MCF), protruding into the temporal bone. We reviewed a large series of cranial computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging scans to identify the prevalence of asymptomatic encephaloceles, meningoceles, and meningoencephaloceles and describe their outcome.

METHODS: We retrospectively reviewed a database of all magnetic resonance imaging and computed tomography scans done at Weill Cornell Medicine for any reason between 2003 and 2018. Encephaloceles, meningoceles, or meningoencephaloceles were confirmed on 72 scans. Of these, chart reviews were performed to identify incidentally discovered cases with symptoms other than cerebrospinal fluid leak, and chart reviews and phone calls were conducted to determine patient demographics, treatment, and outcome.

RESULTS: There were 18 incidental cases for a prevalence of 0.0074%, of which 6 were located in ACF, and 12 were located in MCF. The mean age for ACF cases was 39 ± 15.9 years and for MCF cases was 49.5 ± 19.8 years. There were no leaks in any cases after the encephaloceles were discovered. Eleven of 12 (91.6%) MCF cases were treated conservatively, while 3 of 6 (50%; P = 0.083) ACF cases were treated surgically.

CONCLUSIONS: This study showed that encephaloceles, meningoceles, and meningoencephaloceles without cerebrospinal fluid leak or meningitis in MCF were more often conservatively managed with observation only, whereas these entities in ACF were often repaired prophylactically. Incidentally discovered encephaloceles have a relatively benign natural history and do not precipitously leak.

Alternate JournalWorld Neurosurg
PubMed ID33529766