Cerebellopontine angle cyst compressing the vagus nerve: Case report

Melanie G. Hayden, Stephen V. Tornabene, Andy Nguyen, Apurva Thekdi, John F. Alksne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: The cerebellopontine angle (CPA) is a rare location for an arachnoid cyst. We describe a patient with a CPA arachnoid cyst who presented with hoarseness (unilateral vocal cord paralysis) and dysphagia secondary to isolated compression of the vagus nerve. This rare presentation of a CPA arachnoid cyst has not been reported previously. CLINICAL PRESENTATION: The patient described is a 50-year-old man who experienced a precipitous onset of hoarseness and dsyphagia. An otolaryngological evaluation revealed right-sided vocal cord paralysis. Brain magnetic resonance images displayed a cystic mass at the right CPA and anterior displacement of the vagus nerve. INTERVENTION: The patient underwent retrosigmoidal craniectomy with cyst fenestration, which was well tolerated. Intraoperatively, Cranial Nerve X was found splayed over the cyst and was consequently decompressed. CONCLUSION: Postoperatively, the patient's dysphagia completely resolved. However, the results of a laryngeal electromyocardiogram revealed minimal evidence of recovery in the affected vocal fold, and the patient continued to suffer from dysphonia. Although CPA arachnoid cysts are rare, they should be considered when a patient presents with an isolated cranial nerve palsy. Treatment options include cyst fenestration and cranial nerve decompression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E1150
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2007


  • Arachnoid cyst
  • Cerebellopontine angle
  • Vagus nerve

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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