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      Headache outcomes after surgery for pineal cyst without hydrocephalus: A systematic review


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          Pineal cysts are common entities, with a reported prevalence between 10 and 54%. Management of pineal cysts has historically been expectant, with surgical treatment of these lesions usually reserved for patients with a symptomatic presentation secondary to mass effect. The appropriate management of pineal cysts in patients presenting with headache in the absence of hydrocephalus – often the most common clinical scenario – has been more ambiguous. Here, we report the results of a comprehensive systematic review of headache outcomes for surgically treated, non-hydrocephalic pineal cyst patients without signs of increased intracranial pressure (ICP).


          Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines were followed to construct a systematic review. A comprehensive search of the PubMed, Embase, Scopus, and Web of Science databases was conducted from through June 2020. Relevant English-language articles were identified using the search terms “pineal cyst” and “headache.” The following eligibility criteria were applied: the inclusion of at least one surgically-treated, non-hydrocephalic pineal cyst patient presenting with headache in the absence of hemorrhage or signs and symptoms of increased ICP. Patient demographics and post-operative headache outcomes for the included studies were extracted and summarized.


          A total of 24 pineal cyst cases meeting our selection criteria were identified across 11 included studies. Postoperative improvement or resolution of headaches was reported for 23/24 patients. Our systematic review of the literature demonstrates that non-hydrocephalic patients with pineal cysts have a high rate of headache improvement following surgical intervention.


          The results indicate a need for further investigation of the link between headache and pineal cysts in the non-hydrocephalic patient.

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          Most cited references24

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          The PRISMA statement for reporting systematic reviews and meta-analyses of studies that evaluate healthcare interventions: explanation and elaboration

          Systematic reviews and meta-analyses are essential to summarise evidence relating to efficacy and safety of healthcare interventions accurately and reliably. The clarity and transparency of these reports, however, are not optimal. Poor reporting of systematic reviews diminishes their value to clinicians, policy makers, and other users. Since the development of the QUOROM (quality of reporting of meta-analysis) statement—a reporting guideline published in 1999—there have been several conceptual, methodological, and practical advances regarding the conduct and reporting of systematic reviews and meta-analyses. Also, reviews of published systematic reviews have found that key information about these studies is often poorly reported. Realising these issues, an international group that included experienced authors and methodologists developed PRISMA (preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analyses) as an evolution of the original QUOROM guideline for systematic reviews and meta-analyses of evaluations of health care interventions. The PRISMA statement consists of a 27-item checklist and a four-phase flow diagram. The checklist includes items deemed essential for transparent reporting of a systematic review. In this explanation and elaboration document, we explain the meaning and rationale for each checklist item. For each item, we include an example of good reporting and, where possible, references to relevant empirical studies and methodological literature. The PRISMA statement, this document, and the associated website (www.prisma-statement.org/) should be helpful resources to improve reporting of systematic reviews and meta-analyses.
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            Prevalence and natural history of pineal cysts in adults.

            We reviewed our experience with pineal cysts to define the natural history and clinical relevance of this common intracranial finding. The study population consisted of 48,417 consecutive patients who underwent brain MR imaging at a single institution over a 12-year interval and who were over 18 years of age at the time of imaging. Patient characteristics, including demographic data and other intracranial diagnoses, were collected from cases involving patients with a pineal cyst. We then identified all patients with pineal cysts who had been clinically evaluated at our institution and who had at least 6 months of clinical and imaging follow-up. All inclusion criteria for the natural history analysis were met in 151 patients. Pineal cysts measuring 5 mm or larger in greatest dimension were found in 478 patients (1.0%). Of these, 162 patients were male and 316 were female. On follow-up MR imaging of 151 patients with pineal cyst at a mean interval of 3.4 years from the initial study, 124 pineal cysts remained stable, 4 increased in size, and 23 decreased in size. Cysts that were larger at the time of initial diagnosis were more likely to decrease in size over the follow-up interval (p = 0.004). Patient sex, patient age at diagnosis, and the presence of septations within the cyst were not significantly associated with cyst change on follow-up. Follow-up imaging and neurosurgical evaluation are not mandatory for adults with asymptomatic pineal cysts.
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              Symptomatic pineal cysts: clinical manifestations and management.

              Between 1991 and 2000, seven patients presented with symptomatic pineal cysts at our hospital (6 females, 1 male). Average age was 22 years (range 4-33 years). Headache was present in 6 patients, who were subsequently operated on. A scotoma and a transient inferior visual field deficit were minor signs in two patients respectively. A Parinaud syndrome with vertical gaze paralysis was found in none. In one child, paroxysmal pupillary dilatations and contractions ('springing pupils') constituted the only signs and a conservative policy was adopted. Four patients presented with hydrocephalus and were treated by an endoscopic resection of their pineal cysts (one stereotactically, three free-hand). Two other patients presented with a prolonged history of symptoms and signs: headache alone in one, headache with discrete neurological deficits in the other. Ventricles in these two patients were not dilated and therefore an open cyst resection by infratentorial supracerebellar approach was performed. Average follow-up in the six "operated" patients was 29 months (range 12-108 months). All four patients treated by endoscopy, are symptom-free at follow-up, whereas the two who were approached by open surgery, are not. Clinical presentation, radiological evaluation and treatment modalities of pineal cysts are discussed and compared with experiences reported in the literature. It is concluded that pineal cysts in the presence of obstructive hydrocephalus are a clear indication for endoscopy with a rigid endoscope.

                Author and article information

                Surg Neurol Int
                Surg Neurol Int
                Surgical Neurology International
                Scientific Scholar (USA )
                11 November 2020
                : 11
                : 384
                [1]Department of Neurosurgery, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City, United States.
                Author notes
                [* ] Corresponding author: Ian F. Dunn, Department of Neurosurgery, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City, United States.ian-dunn@ 123456ouhsc.edu
                Copyright: © 2020 Surgical Neurology International

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-Share Alike 4.0 License, which allows others to remix, tweak, and build upon the work non-commercially, as long as the author is credited and the new creations are licensed under the identical terms.

                : 16 August 2020
                : 16 October 2020
                Review Article

                headache,hydrocephalus,pineal cyst,surgery
                headache, hydrocephalus, pineal cyst, surgery


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