Timing of syrinx reduction and stabilization after posterior fossa decompression for pediatric Chiari malformation type I.J Neurosurg Pediatr. 2020 Apr 24; 26(2):193-199.JN
The aim of this study was to determine the timeline of syrinx regression and to identify factors mitigating syrinx resolution in pediatric patients with Chiari malformation type I (CM-I) undergoing posterior fossa decompression (PFD).
The authors conducted a retrospective review of records from pediatric patients (< 18 years old) undergoing PFD for the treatment of CM-I/syringomyelia (SM) between 1998 and 2015. Patient demographic, clinical, radiological, and surgical variables were collected and analyzed. Radiological information was reviewed at 4 time points: 1) pre-PFD, 2) within 6 months post-PFD, 3) within 12 months post-PFD, and 4) at maximum available follow-up. Syrinx regression was defined as ≥ 50% decrease in the maximal anteroposterior syrinx diameter (MSD). The time to syrinx regression was determined using Kaplan-Meier analysis. Multivariate analysis was conducted using a Cox proportional hazards model to determine the association between preoperative, clinical, and surgery-related factors and syrinx regression.
The authors identified 85 patients with CM-I/SM who underwent PFD. Within 3 months post-PFD, the mean MSD regressed from 8.1 ± 3.4 mm (preoperatively) to 5.6 ± 2.9 mm within 3 months post-PFD. Seventy patients (82.4%) achieved ≥ 50% regression in MSD. The median time to ≥ 50% regression in MSD was 8 months (95% CI 4.2-11.8 months). Using a risk-adjusted multivariable Cox proportional hazards model, the patients who underwent tonsil coagulation (n = 20) had a higher likelihood of achieving ≥ 50% syrinx regression in a shorter time (HR 2.86, 95% CI 1.2-6.9; p = 0.02). Thirty-six (75%) of 45 patients had improvement in headache at 2.9 months (IQR 1.5-4.4 months).
The maximum reduction in syrinx size can be expected within 3 months after PFD for patients with CM-I and a syrinx; however, the syringes continue to regress over time. Tonsil coagulation was associated with early syrinx regression in this cohort. However, the role of surgical maneuvers such as tonsil coagulation and arachnoid veil identification and sectioning in the overall role of CM-I surgery remains unclear.