The prepontine block and its relevance for the development and treatment of hydrocephalus

Carla Richetta, Shelly I. Shiran, Shlomi Constantini, Jonathan Roth*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Pulsatile CSF flow patterns include flow through the ventricles to the subarachnoid space and cisterns and from the infra- to the supratentorial subarachnoid space. In this study, we demonstrate how an obstruction at the level of the prepontine space may lead to obstructive hydrocephalus with specific radiological characteristics, as well as the implications for treatment options. Methods: We retrospectively collected data of patients who underwent surgery between February 2010 and December 2022 for hydrocephalus secondary to a suspected prepontine block. One additional patient diagnosed with prepontine block who did not undergo surgery was also included. We excluded patients with a background of previous unrelated neurosurgical procedures or CNS infections. Results: Six children and two adults were included. Three presented with hydrocephalus on imaging, without any other underlying pathology. Five had a suprasellar arachnoid cyst, with its lower border abating the pons and occluding the spinal subarachnoid space (SAS). All cases had an open aqueduct on T2 sagittal sequences, as well as an infracerebellar or retrocerebellar CSF collection. In most cases, a horizontal web was identified in the prepontine region. Seven cases were treated with an endoscopic fenestration. One patient subsequently underwent a shunt surgery. All the operated children reached normal developmental milestones after surgery. Conclusions: This paper describes a rather small series of cases where clear obstruction was observed at the level of the prepontine subarachnoid space. We believe this anatomical subtlety adds to a better understanding of CSF pathways and the role of ETV in treating hydrocephalus, focusing on a small subgroup of patients without a clear obstruction.

Original languageEnglish
JournalChild's Nervous System
StateAccepted/In press - 2024


  • Endoscopy
  • Hydrocephalus
  • Prepontine block


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