Background: The optimal treatment of symptomatic intracranial arachnoid cysts is controversial and different surgical approaches have been described. The aim of the treatment is to reduce the intracystic pressure. To accomplish this goal, many techniques have been proposed, each with specific limitations or failures. Methods: Nine patients with symptomatic arachnoid cysts were treated by stereotactic cyst-ventricular shunting. One patient with suprasellar arachnoid cyst showed signs related to intracranial pressure, the remaining 8 patients complained of headache and/or drug-resistant epilepsy. All the intracranial cysts were supratentorial. The surgical procedure was performed under general anesthesia in 6 cases and local anesthesia in 3 cases. The CRW Stereotactic System (Radionics) was used. The acquisition of both target points (cyst and ventricle) was always realized by means of CT scan slices. A right precoronal burr hole was made and a silicon catheter was stereotactically inserted into the lateral ventricle. Another burr hole was subsequently performed close to the cyst; a silicon catheter was placed in the middle of the cavity in the shortest intracerebral crossing. Then both catheters were connected to a subcutaneous burr hole Ommaya reservoir. Results: All patients tolerated the procedure well and the preoperative clinical signs progressively disappeared or improved. The CT scan at 1, 3, 6 and over 12 months showed progressive reduction in size of the cysts. No clinical recurrence was found at the follow-up (14–73 months). Conclusions: The successful outcome of the above cases suggests that, in carefully selected symptomatic intracranial arachnoid cysts, stereotactic cyst-ventricular shunting is likely to prove an effective operative method.

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