Rapidly recurrent recalcitrant Rathke Cleft Cyst: Case report and review of the literature

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Journal Article

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RCC; Rathke cleft cyst; Recurrence; Sellar mass; Transsphenoidal surgery


BACKGROUND: Rathke Cleft Cysts (RCC) are cystic sellar or suprasellar nonneoplastic lesions that are thought to originate from remnants of the rathke pouch. Postoperatively, RCCs have a tendency to reaccumulate, after which preoperative symptoms may recur. However, there exists very little evidence on which treatments are most effective in these patients. CASE-DESCRIPTION: In this report, we present a unique case of a symptomatic RCC that recurred four times after initial transsphenoidal surgery. Following each surgery, the patient had significant visual improvement with post-op imaging displaying decompression of the neural elements. However, RCC reaccumulated in strikingly rapid time intervals of 1.5 months, 0.5 months, 1.5 years, and 5 months after each respective prior surgery. Repeat interventions with transsphenoidal, pterional and supraorbital approaches were unsuccessful in providing a durable treatment response. The patient ultimately underwent radiotherapy after a final surgical marsupialization of the cyst and has since displayed stable imaging with improved vision. This patient represented a 'perfect storm' of factors that may contribute to cyst recurrence, including substantial visual field deficits, large cyst size, peripheral wall enhancements on MRI, an intraoperative CSF leak, use of a fat graft, subtotal resection of the portion of cyst wall that adhered to important suprasellar structures, squamous metaplasia noted in cyst wall, and suprasellar extension. CONCLUSIONS: We demonstrate that different surgical approaches through repeat surgeries may not assist in prevention of further recurrence; instead, we propose that radiotherapy should be offered early in the treatment course of recurrent cases that have additional risk factors for further reoccurrence.


Neurological Surgery