1. Unité de Neurochirurgie Pédiatrique, Fondation Ophtalmologique A. de Rothschild 2. Service d‘Anatomo‐pathologie, Hôpital Necker‐Enfants Malades, Paris, France
Aim: to study the surgical procedures and results on seizures, in 18 patients with refractory epilepsy due to hypothalamic hamartoma. Patients and methods: Eighteen patients aged from 9 months to 32 years underwent surgery between 1997 and 2002. The mean age at seizure onset was 15.5 months. Seventeen patients had gelastic seizures, 14 had partial seizures, two had infantile spasms, 10 had tonic or atonic seizures and three had generalized seizures. The mean seizure frequency was 21 per day. Four patients had borderline intellectual disability and the others were mentally retarded. Five patients had precocious puberty, one had acromegaly and four suffered from obesity. Brain MRI, performed at least twice in each patient showed the hamartoma as a stable, homogeneous interpeduncular mass implanted either on the mammilary tubercle or on the wall of the third ventricle, with variable extension to the bottom. Ictal SPECT, performed in four patients, showed hyperperfusion within the hamartoma in two. Surgical procedure: twenty‐six operations were performed in 18 patients. The first patient underwent a total removal of the hamartoma, whereas the following patients underwent a disconnection, either through open surgery (14 patients) or endoscopy (10 patients). Results: regarding the seizure outcome with a mean follow up of three years four months (one year to 4.5 years), nine patients are seizure‐free, one patient has only brief gelastic seizures and eight are dramatically improved. Surgery was uncomplicated in all but two patients: one had transitory hemiplegia and paresis of the third cranial nerve, the other presented with hemiplegia due to ischemia of the middle cerebral artery territory. The quality of life, behavior and school performance were greatly improved in most of the patients. Conclusion: our series illustrates the feasibility and relative safety of disconnecting surgery of hypothalamic hamartomas, with seizure relief in 50% and a dramatic improvement in the others. Endoscopic disconnection seems to be a very safe way to treat the intra‐ventricular part of hamartomas.