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Clinical Studies

Cerebellar Mutism: Report of Seven Cases and Review of the Literature

Erşahin, Yusuf M.D.; Mutluer, Saffet M.D.; Çağli, Sedat M.D.; Duman, Yusuf M.D.

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IT IS WELL known that degenerative disease, hemorrhage, infection, and neoplastic disease of the cerebellum can lead to speech disorders. Mutism after posterior cranial fossa surgery was first reported by Rekate et al. and Yonemasu in 1985. We review and analyze the cases of cerebellar mutism that are reported in the literature that is available in English. We found 39 reported cases that included details regarding mutism. We review and analyze a total of 46 cases, including those of our seven patients. The ages of the patients ranged from 2 to 61 years (mean, 10.4 yr). Ninety-one percent of the patients were children. The vermis was the site of the mass lesions in >90% of the cases. The pathological findings of the lesions were as follows: 33 medulloblastomas, 7 astrocytomas, 4 ependymomas, 1 metastatic tumor, and 1 arteriovenous malformation. All mass lesions were considered to be large or very large. The latency for the development of mutism ranged from 0 to 6 days(mean, 1.7 d). The mutism lasted from 4 days to 4 months (mean, 6.8 wk). Dysarthric speech ensued after the mutism was resolved in 35 of 46 patients. Mutism was transient in all of the cases. Cerebellar mutism is a transient complication of posterior fossa surgery for midline mass lesions.

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