Craniopharyngioma surgery

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Ideal surgical treatment of craniopharyngiomas remains a major challenge for neurosurgeons. Craniopharyngiomas grow in the deep-seated hypothalamic area that is paramount for vegetative, emotional and endocrine function, and for maintaining worthwhile life. The benign histological nature of craniopharyngiomas belies their biological behavior and the propensity to recur is a major threat. Surgical treatment has to weigh the risk of hypothalamic damage against the risk of tumor recurrence or progression. Both aggressive surgery and conservative minor surgery followed by radiotherapy has been proclaimed by the proponents of different schools. During the past decade, the pendulum has swung back to surgery with the attempt at radical removal. Refined neurosurgical techniques and innovative approaches yielded improved surgical results. The contemporary neurosurgical strategy of treating craniopharyngiomas with early and late outcome data is presented. Neurosurgical therapy is only beneficial in the context of an interdisciplinary treatment concept as discussed here.

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