Stereotactic volumetric resection of thalamic pilocytic astrocytomas

Yaron A. Moshel, Michael J. Link, Patrick J. Kelly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: To describe the surgical approaches, the radiographic and clinical outcomes, and the long-term follow-up of patients harboring thalamic pilocytic astrocytomas after radical resection by means of a stereotactic volumetric technique. METHODS: Seventy-two patients with thalamic pilocytic astrocytomas underwent stereotactic volumetric resection by the senior author (PJK) at the Mayo Clinic between 1984 and 1993 (44 patients) and at New York University Medical Center between 1993 and 2005 (28 patients). Patient demographics, presenting symptoms, surgical approaches, neurological outcomes, pathology, initial postoperative status, and long-term clinical and radiographic follow-up were retrospectively reviewed. RESULTS: On preoperative neurological examinations, 54 of the 72 patients had neurological deficits; of these, 48 had hemiparesis. Postoperative imaging demonstrated gross total resection in 58 patients and minimal (<6 mm) residual tumor in 13 patients. Tumor resection was aborted in one patient. On immediate postoperative examination, 16 patients had significant improvements in hemiparesis. Six patients had worsening of a preexisting hemiparesis and one had a new transient postoperative hemiparesis. There was one postoperative death. After 13 to 20 years of follow-up in the Mayo group (mean, 15 ± 3 yr) and 1 to 13 years of follow-up in the New York University group (mean, 8 ± 3 yr), 67 patients were recurrence/ progression-free, one had tumor recurrence, and three had progression of residual tumor. There were two shunt-related deaths. On long-term neurological follow-up, 27 patients had significant improvements in hemiparesis; one patient with a postoperative worsening of a preexisting hemiparesis remained unchanged. There were no patients with new long-term motor deficits after stereotactic resection. CONCLUSION: Gross total removal of thalamic pilocytic astrocytomas with low morbidity and mortality can be achieved by computer-assisted stereotactic volumetric resection techniques. Gross total resection of these lesions confers a favorable long-term prognosis without adjuvant chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy and leads to the improvement of neurological deficits.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)66-75
Number of pages10
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1 2007


  • Brain neoplasm
  • Computer-assisted stereotactic volumetric craniotomy
  • Diencephalon
  • Juvenile pilocytic astrocytoma
  • Stereotaxis
  • Thalamus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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