Pilocytic astrocytoma of the posterior fossa: A follow-up. Study in 15 patients

Hung Chuan Pan, Tai-Tong Wong, Wan You Guo, Liang Shong Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Background. The extent of resection in pilocytic astrocytoma of the posterior fossa remains undefined, as the problem of hydrocephalus has not yet been solved. We retrospectively reviewed the data from 15 patients with a pilocytic astrocytoma of the posterior fossa to evaluate the impact of surgical technique, in terms of resection extent, by serial magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) examinations. In addition, the issue of hydrocephalus was considered and related to the different treatment modalities. Methods. Macroscopic, gross, total resection of the tumor was performed in all 15 patients. Follow-up was obtained in 14 patients for a period ranging between 11 and 119 months (median, 41.5 months). The ages of patients ranged from two to 13 years (mean, 7 ±3 years). All patients underwent serial MRI examinations in the first month, every six months for the first two years and then yearly. Results. Outcome was good in 12 patients who had no neurologic deficit and fair in two patients who were slightly handicapped but had an independent life. There were four patients with an abnormally persistent enhancement on MRI, with a median follow-up of 30 months. One of these patients had progressively increasing size of the enhancement. Three of them had the same size of enhancement during the follow-up period. The MRI findings showed residual tumors in four patients. One of them had tumor regrowth one year after surgery. There were 11 cases with pilocytic astrocytoma and hydrocephalus. Five patients were treated with tumor removal and external CSF drainage. Six patients underwent tumor removal only, without perioperative cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) drainage. Only one patient had a permanent ventriculoperitoneal shunt. Conclusions. Our study illustrated that the extent of tumor resection of pilocytic astrocytoma can be defined by postoperative serial MRI examinations. Long-term follow-up with MRI seems mandatory in cases with abnormal enhancement. Hydrocephalus is a common finding in patients with a pilocytic astrocytoma. A permanent ventriculoperitoneal shunt is required only in patients with postoperative hydrocephalus.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)278-284
Number of pages7
JournalChinese Medical Journal (Taipei)
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 1 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Pediatric brain tumor
  • Pilocytic astrocytoma
  • Posterior fossa

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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