Introduction: Hypothalamic injury during resection of craniopharyngiomas is a well-known complication which carries morbid consequences. The nature of craniopharyngiomas make this tumor particularly challenging, especially to novice neurosurgeons. Here we demonstrate a learning curve in relation to damage to the hypothalamus over the senior author’s career.
Methods: Cases involving resection of craniopharyngiomas were reviewed over the senior author’s career, starting in 1991. Injuries to the hypothalamus, as well as, exacerbation of pre-existing hypothalamic injury was noted.
Results: Cases involving resection of craniopharyngiomas in children were reviewed over the senior author’s career, starting in 1991. Injuries to the hypothalamus, as well as, exacerbation of pre-existing hypothalamic injury was noted.
Conclusions: Resection of craniopharyngiomas can be a technically daunting task, especially large tumors and in children, regardless of the neurosurgeon’s experience. However, the risk of collateral injury during this surgery is likely increased in the hands of inexperienced neurosurgeons. One main problem, the senior author notes, is the identification of the hypothalamus during the resection. Identifying and understanding the potential pitfalls in craniopharyngioma surgery may lessen the learning curve for newer, less experienced neurosurgeons.
Patient Care: By helping neurosurgeons understand the pitfalls of craniopharyngioma surgery, particularly regrading injury to the hypothalmus.
Learning Objectives: By the conclusion of this session, participants should able be to: 1) understand that a learning curve exists when performing technically demanding operations and 2) identify the causes for hypothalamic injury during craniopharyngioma resections in children.