Role of surgical resection in the treatment of hypothalamic hamartomas causing precocious puberty. Report of six cases

J Neurosurg. 1998 Feb;88(2):340-5. doi: 10.3171/jns.1998.88.2.0340.


Hypothalamic hamartomas (HHs) are benign tumors that are often associated with central precocious puberty. Resection of HHs has been recommended as a treatment option for selected cases of pedunculated lesions, especially in young children. The role of surgery has to be evaluated in the light of the availability of effective medical treatment with gonadotropin-releasing hormone analogs (GnRHas). The authors report the long-term results of total resection of HHs in two children with central precocious puberty and compare it with medical management in four children. The two surgically treated patients underwent total resection of pedunculated HHs at 1.75 (Case 1) and 3.25 years (Case 2) and have received follow-up care for 9 and 8 years, respectively. There were no postoperative complications and computerized tomography scanning confirmed complete tumor removal in both patients. Both patients subsequently experienced some regression of secondary sexual characteristics. The response of luteinizing hormone to GnRH became prepubertal in one patient and was diminished in the other. However, the growth velocity remained elevated (> 7 cm/year), bone age remained advanced (> +2 standard deviations) 5 years after surgery, decreasing adult height prediction. In one child, GnRHa therapy was initiated 7 years postsurgery. Four children were treated solely with GnRH agonists and have received follow-up care for 2.3, 6, 9, and 9 years, respectively. These patients have had a complete regression of endocrinological abnormalities, including a normalization of growth velocity and reduction in the rate of skeletal maturation. No side effects were noted with decapeptyl treatment, and one child developed sterile abscesses while receiving Lupron-Depot. The proven efficacy of GnRHa in suppressing puberty and reducing bone age advancement leads the authors to advise against surgery as the initial management of central precocious puberty caused by HHs.

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone / blood
  • Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone
  • Hamartoma / complications*
  • Hamartoma / diagnostic imaging
  • Hamartoma / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Hypothalamic Diseases / complications*
  • Hypothalamic Diseases / diagnostic imaging
  • Hypothalamic Diseases / surgery*
  • Infant
  • Luteinizing Hormone / blood
  • Male
  • Puberty, Precocious / etiology*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed


  • Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone
  • Luteinizing Hormone
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone