Lumbosacral extradural arachnoid cysts: diagnostic and indication for surgery
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No critical discussion of the indication for the surgical treatment of lumbosacral extradural arachnoid cysts is found in the literature. Therefore, we want to compare the results in patients with operative and conservative treatment to define standards for a good surgical result. Over a period of 9 years, we operated on eight patients with a lumbosacral extradural arachnoid cyst and treated eight others conservatively. Only three of the operated patients experienced a postoperative relief of pain, but none was symptom free. The only one with continuing success had a preoperative history of 1 year only. MRI scans without contrast agent were misinterpreted in one included and one excluded case. The results of conservative treatment were nearly the same as those of operative treatment. MRI is the best diagnostic tool, but a variety of sequences must be used. Patients with a short pain history and a clear neurological deficit profited most from surgery. Patients with slight and not clearly related uncharacteristic symptoms should be excluded from surgery.
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