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J Korean Neurosurg Soc. 2001 May;30(5):575-580. Korean. Original Article.
Kim JH , Ra YS , Kim JS , Ahn JS , Kim CJ , Kwun BD .
Department of Neurological Surgery, Asan Medical Center, College of Medicine, University of Ulsan, Seoul, Korea.

PURPOSE: In general, pineal region tumors are managed by using microsurgical approach or stereoctactic biopsy. However, in selected cases endoscopic approach to pineal lesions might prove to be as effective as microsurgery and less invasive. We report an alternative surgical strategy for managing certain patients with pineal neoplasms that allows treatment of the symptomatic hydrocephalus as well as tumor biopsy under direct vision in the same sitting. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Twenty-two patients with pineal region tumors with associated hydrocephalus were treated in one session by endoscopic third ventriculostomy and endoscopic tumor biopsy at our institution from October 1996 to January 2000. All patients were retrospectively evaluated. RESULTS: There was no operative mortality. There was one cause of significant bleeding during biopsy, but was controlled endoscopically, and the patient recovered completely without neurologic deficit resulting from intra-operative bleeding. The symptoms related to increased intracranial pressure(ICP) have resolved in all patients, and the need for a shunt is completely eliminated. Histological diagnosis was achieved in 21 of the 22 patients by this procedure. A biopsy was not obtained in one patient. Although this pineal region tumor was seen endoscopically, this could not be biopsied because of technical difficulties in working around an enlarged massa intermedia. The lesions included fourteen germinomas, three mixed germ cell tumors, and one each of the followings: pineocytoma, pineoblastoma, pineocytoma/pineoblastoma(intermediate type), meningioma, and low grade glioma. Five of the 22 patients subsequently underwent formal microsurgical tumor removal. Additional chemotherapy or radiotherapy could then be initiated according to the histological diagnosis. CONCLUSION: We consider that endoscopy affords a minimally invasive way of reaching three objectives by one-step surgery in the management of pineal region tumors with associated hydrocephalus: 1) cerebrospinal fluid(CSF) sample for analysis of tumour markers and cytology, 2) treatment of hydrocephalus by third ventriculostomy, and 3) several biopsy specimens can be obtained identifying tumors which will require further open surgery or adjuvant radiation and/or chemotherapy. However, complications and morbidities should be emphasized so as to be avoided with further technical experience.

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