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Adib A. Abla, Andrew G. Shetter, Steve W. Chang, Scott D. Wait, David G. Brachman, Yu-Tze Ng, Harold L. Rekate and John F. Kerrigan


The authors present outcomes obtained in patients who underwent Gamma Knife surgery (GKS) at 1 institution as part of a multimodal treatment of refractory epilepsy caused by hypothalamic hamartomas (HHs).


Between 2003 and 2010, 19 patients with HH underwent GKS. Eight patients had follow-up for less than 1 year, and 1 patient was lost to follow-up. The 10 remaining patients (mean age 15.1 years, range 5.7–29.3 years) had a mean follow-up of 43 months (range 18–81 months) and are the focus of this report. Five patients had undergone a total of 6 prior surgeries: 1 transcallosal resection of the HH, 2 endoscopic transventricular resections of the HH, 2 temporal lobectomies, and 1 arachnoid cyst evacuation. In an institutional review board–approved study, postoperative complications and long-term outcome measures were monitored prospectively with the use of a proprietary database. Seven patients harbored Delalande Type II lesions; the remainder harbored Type III or IV lesions. Seizure frequency ranged from 1–2 monthly to as many as 100 gelastic seizures daily. The mean lesion volume was 695 mm3 (range 169–3000 mm3, median 265 mm3). The mean/median dose directed to the 50% isodose line was 18 Gy (range 16–20 Gy). The mean maximum point dose to the optic chiasm was 7.5 Gy (range 5–10 Gy). Three patients underwent additional resection 14.5, 21, and 32 months after GKS.


Of the 10 patients included in this study, 6 are seizure free (2 after they underwent additional surgery), 1 has a 50%–90% reduction in seizure frequency, 2 have a 50% reduction in seizure frequency, and 1 has observed no change in seizure frequency. Overall quality of life, based on data obtained from follow-up telephone conversations and/or surveys, improved in 9 patients and was due to improvements in seizure control (9 patients), short-term memory loss (3 patients), and behavioral symptoms (5 patients); in 1 patient, quality of life remains minimally affected. Incidences of morbidity were all temporary and included poikilothermia (1 patient), increased depression (1 patient), weight gain/increased appetite (2 patients), and anxiety (1 patient) after GKS.


Of the approximately 150 patients at Barrow Neurological Institute who have undergone treatment for HH, the authors have reserved GKS for treatment of small HHs located distal from radiosensitive structures in patients with high cognitive function and a stable clinical picture, which allows time for the effects of radiosurgery to occur without further deterioration. The lack of significant morbidity and the clinical outcomes achieved in this study demonstrated a low risk of GKS for HH with results comparable to those of previous series.

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Ryszard M. Pluta, Scott D. Wait, John A. Butman, Kathleen A. Leppig, Alexander O. Vortmeyer, Edward H. Oldfield and Russell R. Lonser

Hemangioblastomas are histologically benign neoplasms that occur sporadically or as part of von Hippel–Lindau disease. Hemangioblastomas may occur anywhere along the neuraxis, but sacral hemangioblastomas are extremely rare. To identify features that will help guide the operative and clinical management of these lesions, the authors describe the management of a large von Hippel–Lindau disease–associated sacral hemangioblastoma and review the literature.

The authors present the case of a 38-year-old woman with von Hippel–Lindau disease and a 10-year history of progressive back pain, as well as left lower-extremity pain and numbness. Neurological examination revealed decreased sensation in the left S-1 and S-2 dermatomes. Magnetic resonance imaging demonstrated a large enhancing lesion in the sacral region, with associated erosion of the sacrum. The patient underwent arteriography and embolization of the tumor and then resection. The histopathological diagnosis was consistent with hemangioblastoma and showed intrafascicular tumor infiltration of the S-2 nerve root. At 1-year follow-up examination, pain had resolved and numbness improved.

Sacral nerve root hemangioblastomas may be safely removed in most patients, resulting in stabilization or improvement in symptomatology. Generally, hemangioblastomas of the sacral nerve roots should be removed when they cause symptoms. Because they originate from the nerve root, the nerve root from which the hemangioblastoma originates must be sacrificed to achieve complete resection.

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Russell R. Lonser, Scott D. Wait, John A. Butman, Alexander O. Vortmeyer, McClellan M. Walther, Lance S. Governale and Edward H. Oldfield


Hemangioblastomas in the lumbosacral region are rare, and the authors of prior reports have not defined the surgical management, histopathological features, or outcome in a group of patients after resection of these tumors. To identify features that will help guide the operative and clinical management of these lesions, the authors reviewed data obtained in a series of patients with von Hippel—Lindau syndrome who underwent resection of lumbosacral nerve root hemangioblastomas.


Six consecutive patients (three men and three women; mean age at surgery 39 years [range 31–48 years]) who underwent operations for resection of lumbosacral nerve root hemangioblastomas were included in this study. The mean follow-up period was 23 months (range 6–45 months). Data derived from examination, hospital charts, operative findings, histopathological analysis, and magnetic resonance imaging were used to analyze surgical management and clinical outcome. The resected tumors were located in the lumbar (five cases) or sacral (one case) regions; the mean tumor size was 2728 mm3 (range 80–15,022 mm3). Consistent with central nervous system (CNS) regional variation of space available to accommodate the neural compressive effect of the hemangioblastoma size, the mean tumor volume (2728 mm3) of these symptomatic lesions was much larger than that of symptomatic hemangioblastomas resected in the other regions of the CNS. Histopathological examination showed infiltration of the associated nerve root by the hemangioblastoma in each case. In five of the six patients complete resection was achieved, and in one patient intradural exploration of two hemangioblastomas was performed, but resection was not achieved because of motor root involvement. In all cases involving complete resections the patients experienced symptomatic improvement.


Lumbosacral nerve root hemangioblastomas can be safely removed in most patients with von Hippel—Lindau syndrome. Generally, hemangioblastomas of the lumbosacral nerve roots should be resected when they become symptomatic. Because these neoplasms appear to originate from the nerve root, it is necessary to sacrifice the nerve root from which the hemangioblastoma originates to achieve complete resection.