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Neurosurgery. 2018 Dec 1;83(6):1183-1192. doi: 10.1093/neuros/nyx604.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging-Guided Laser Interstitial Thermal Therapy for the Treatment of Hypothalamic Hamartomas: A Retrospective Review.

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Department of Neurosurgery, Barrow Neurological Institute, St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center, Phoenix, Arizona.
Department of Neurosurgery, Barrow Neurological Institute, Phoenix Children's Hospital, Phoenix, Arizona.
Department of Pediatric Neurology, Barrow Neurological Institute, Phoenix Children's Hospital, Phoenix, Arizona.



Hypothalamic hamartomas (HH) are rare lesions associated with treatment-resistant epilepsy. Open surgery results in modest seizure control (about 50%) but has a significant associated morbidity. Radiosurgery is limited to a subset of patients due to latent therapeutic effects. Magnetic resonance imaging-guided laser interstitial thermal therapy (LITT) offers a novel minimally invasive option.


To evaluate a single center's outcomes for the LITT treatment of HH.


We retrospectively reviewed our experience with LITT for the treatment of HH using our institution's prospectively maintained patient database.


Eighteen patients (mean age, 21.1 yr; median age, 11 yr) underwent 21 total LITT treatments for HH. Mean follow-up was 17.4 mo. The length of stay was 1 night for 16 (89%) patients. At the end of follow-up, 11 of 18 patients (61%) had full disconnection of the HH, and 12 of 15 (80%) patients with gelastic seizures and 5 (56%) of 9 patients with nongelastic seizures were seizure free (International League Against Epilepsy Class 1). Immediate complications included a 39% (7/18) incidence of neurological deficits, including 1 case of hemiparesis. At the end of follow-up, 22% of patients (4/18) had persistent deficits. The hypothyroidism that occurred was delayed in 11% of patients (2/18), as was short-term memory loss (22%, 4/18) and weight gain (22%, 4/18).


LITT therapy for HH can achieve excellent rates of seizure control with low morbidity and a short postoperative stay in a majority of patients. Additional research is needed to assess the durability of results and the full spectrum of cognitive outcomes.


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