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Successful surgical treatment of craniopharyngioma in very young children

Successful surgical treatment of craniopharyngioma in very young children

Journal of Neurosurgery. Pediatrics 3(5): 397-406

Given the potential morbidity of cranial irradiation in young children, the risk-benefit analysis of limited surgery plus irradiation versus radical resection may favor the latter strategy. The purpose of this study was to assess the oncological, endocrinological, and functional outcomes of patients 5 years of age and younger who underwent radical resection of craniopharyngiomas. Between 1991 and 2008, 19 children age < or = 5 years were diagnosed with a craniopharyngioma and underwent radical resection by the senior author (J.H.W.). Data were retrospectively collected on these 19 patients (11 males, 8 females; mean age 3.2 years) to assess the efficacy and impact of surgical treatment. Eighteen (95%) of 19 patients underwent gross-total resection (GTR) confirmed by intraoperative inspection and postoperative imaging. There was no operative death and 18 of (95%) 19 patients were alive at a mean follow-up of 9.4 years (median 8.3 years). Six patients (31%) had a total of 7 tumor recurrences treated by repeat GTR in 5 patients and Gamma knife surgery in 1 patient. No patient required conventional, fractionated radiation therapy. Disease control was achieved surgically in 17 (89.5%) patients and with surgery and Gamma knife surgery in 1 patient, yielding an overall rate of disease control of 95% without the use of conventional radiotherapy. New-onset diabetes insipidus occurred in 50% of patients. Vision worsened in 1 patient, and there was no long-term neurological morbidity. In this retrospective series, children aged < or = 5 years with craniopharyngiomas can have excellent outcomes with minimal morbidity after radical resection by an experienced surgeon. Disease control in this population can be successfully achieved with GTR alone in the majority of cases, avoiding the detrimental effects of radiotherapy in this vulnerable population.

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Accession: 055999190

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PMID: 19409019

DOI: 10.3171/2009.1.peds08401

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