Hypothalamic Hamartoma FAQs

Are hypothalamic hamartomas considered cancer?
No. While these growths are a type of tumor, they are not malignant.  They are congenital in nature, but do not grow in size after birth and do not spread.
How is hypothalamic hamartoma diagnosed?
Since the tumors are sometimes small and located deep in the brain, diagnosis should be done by an expert with experience with hypothalamic hamartoma patients. While CT scans and low-resolution MRIs are often ineffective, high-resolution MRIs may detect the masses with greater accuracy. In addition, a thorough evaluation of neurological symptoms is necessary for a complete diagnosis.
How is hypothalamic hamartoma treated?
Treatment for hypothalamic hamartoma can range from use the use of antiepileptic and hormonal drugs to surgical management of the tumors.
Is the location of the hypothalamic hamartoma important?
Yes. Depending on where the hypothalamic hamartoma is located, symptoms will vary. If the masses are located in the front of the hypothalamus, symptoms of early puberty may occur. If the masses are found more towards the back of the hypothalamus, seizures are likely to occur.
What is the prognosis if the hypothalamic hamartoma is treated with medications?
While AEDs (antiepileptic drugs) are successful in the control of seizures, seizure freedom is rarely achieved.
What is the prognosis if hypothalamic hamartoma is treated surgically?
While removal of the hamartomas is highly successful in the full eradication of seizures, prognosis varies with each individual and is dependent upon the patient’s age, tumor location and other factors.