Resection of an extensive thoracic arachnoid cyst via less-invasive targeted laminoplasties

Benjamin T. Himes, Panagiotis Kerezoudis, Kenan R. Rajjoub, Daniel S. Shepherd, Mohamad Bydon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Objective: Spinal arachnoid cysts are a known cause of spinal cord compression. When symptomatic, treatment of choice entails laminectomies over the length of the cyst in order to achieve complete cyst removal and fenestration. Methods: A 60-year-old woman presented with a one-year history of progressive pain between the shoulder blades, exacerbated by sitting up or standing, and relieved by lying supine. MRI imaging revealed a T3–T7 dorsal intradural arachnoid cyst. Due to extant spinal deformity and medical comorbidity, the decision was made to proceed with selective laminoplasties at the superior and inferior limits of the cyst. Results: After the dura was opened to reveal the margins, the cyst was sharply fenestrated and drained. Irrigation was passed through the cyst to ensure open communication, and a lumbar drain catheter was passed from the inferior to superior margin. The catheter was removed before closure. Postoperatively, MRI of the thoracic spine revealed decompression of the spinal cord and the patient noticed improvement in her symptoms. At 7-month follow-up, the patient remained free of symptoms and MRI demonstrated near-complete resolution of the cyst. Conclusion: Although open exposure and complete resection are considered the treatment of choice for spinal arachnoid cysts, cyst fenestration through selective bony windows at the margins of the cyst represents a viable, less invasive alternative approach to effective cyst decompression, and can be considered in patients in whom a full exposure would be prohibitive.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)397-400
Number of pages4
JournalInternational Journal of Neuroscience
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 3 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • fenestration
  • laminoplasty
  • spinal arachnoid cyst
  • Thoracic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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