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Neurosurgery. 2001 Jan;48(1):108-18.

Transcallosal resection of hypothalamic hamartomas, with control of seizures, in children with gelastic epilepsy.

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Department of Neurosurgery, Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.



Hypothalamic hamartomas (HHs) are associated with precocious puberty and gelastic epilepsy; the seizures are often refractory to antiepileptic medications and associated with delayed development and disturbed behavior. The current opinion is that surgery to treat intrahypothalamic lesions is formidable and that complete excision is not technically achievable. We report our experience with a transcallosal approach to the resection of HHs.


Five children (age, 4-13 yr) with intractable epilepsy and HHs underwent preoperative clinical, electroencephalographic, and imaging evaluations. Two patients experienced only gelastic seizures, and three patients experienced mixed seizure disorders with drop attacks; all experienced multiple daily seizures. Patients were evaluated with respect to seizures, cognition, behavior, and endocrine status 9 to 37 months (mean, 24 mo) after surgery. The HHs were approached via a transcallosal-interforniceal route to the third ventricle and were resected using a microsurgical technique and frameless stereotaxy.


Complete or nearly complete (>95%) excision of the HHs was achieved for all patients, with no adverse neurological, psychological, or visual sequelae. Two patients experienced mild transient diabetes insipidus after surgery. Two patients developed appetite stimulation, but no other significant endocrinological sequelae were observed. Three patients are seizure-free and two patients have experienced only occasional, brief, mild gelastic seizures after surgery, all with reduced antiepileptic medications. On the basis of parental reports and our own subjective observations, the children also exhibited marked improvements in behavior, school performance, and quality of life.


Complete or nearly complete resection of HHs can be safely achieved via a transcallosal approach, with the possibility of seizure freedom and neurobehavioral improvements.

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