Fifty-one cases of brainstem haematoma that have undergone neurosurgical intervention since Finkelnburg's first exploration in 1905, are presented, together with five new cases. The location, incidence, aetiological and pathological factors, as well as clinical syndromes are reviewed. Diagnostic criteria are presented. The distinction between brainstem "haematoma" and "haemorrhage" is stressed. A retrospective comparison of 56 surgically treated cases and 31 conservatively managed cases is made, as is an analysis of the natural history of the disease process. Based on currently available data, the conclusion is drawn that patients with brainstem haematomas fare quite well after surgical therapy.
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