Transient mutism following a posterior fossa approach to cerebellar tumors in children: a critical review of the literature


Transient mutism has been known as a rare complication following a posterior fossa approach to cerebellar tumors and its cause has not been clearly elucidated. The cerebellar mutism is not accompanied by cranial nerve deficits and disorders of consciousness. Since 1985 only 23 cases of mutism following removal of a cerebellar tumor in children have been reported in the literature. Two additional cases have been operated upon in our department. Extensive injury to the vermian and paravermian cerebellar area, involving the hemispheric cortex, cerebellar peduncles, fibers from the dentato-thalamocortical pathway, and dentate and interpositum nuclei may be the most important anatomical substrate of mutism. The mechanism of such transient mutism seems to be a complex of two or more factors (vascular disturbances due to manipulation or retraction of the cerebellar region around the IV ventricle and emotional factors). On the basis of these 25 cases the major features of the cerebellar mutism are discussed.

DOI: 10.1007/BF00301766
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