Pediatric pineal region tumors: institutional experience of surgical managements with posterior interhemispheric transtentorial approach

Tadanori Tomita*, Tord D. Alden, Arthur J. Dipatri

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Purpose: Resecting pineal region tumors in children is often challenging. Several approaches have been proposed and practiced. A personal series of pediatric pineal region tumors resected through craniotomy with posterior interhemispheric occipital transtentorial (OT) approach are reviewed. We present the surgical techniques, pitfalls, and their results. Material and methods: Eighty patients ranging in age from 3 months to 21 years old, and treated over 3 decades were reviewed. Hydrocephalus caused the main presenting symptoms and was noted in 74 patients. It was treated prior to the craniotomy for tumor resection with endoscopic third ventriculostomy (ETV) in 33, external ventricular drainage in 26, and precraniotomy shunt in 15. Nine patients had ETV together with endoscopic biopsy. All patients had a parieto-occipital craniotomy in a prone position. Through a tentorial section, a gross total resection of the tumor was attempted except for germinomas. Results: The tumor pathology showed 32 germ cell tumors (GCT), 22 benign astrocytomas, 13 pineal parenchymal tumors, 5 ATRTs, 3 papillary tumors, and 5 others. Of GCTs, 18 were teratomas. The extent of resection consisted of 55 gross total resections, 13 subtotal resections, 10 partial, and 2 biopsies with one postoperative death. Hemiparesis in 2, cerebellar ataxia in another 2, and hemiballismus in 1 were transient and improved over time. One had permanent hemisensory loss and another patient had bilateral oculomotor palsy. Postoperative homonymous hemianopia occurred in 2 patients but subsided over a short period of time. Parinaud’s sign was noted in 24 patients, of which 16 were transient. Conclusion: The posterior interhemispheric OT approach provides a safe route and comfortable access to the pineal region in children. A great majority of postoperative neurological complications are the results of direct manipulations of the midbrain at tumor resection. Identification and preservation of the tumor-brain interface are of paramount importance. GCTs other than teratomas are treated with neoadjuvant chemotherapy and may eliminate the need for craniotomy. Exophytic midbrain JPAs are amenable to resection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2293-2305
Number of pages13
JournalChild's Nervous System
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2023


  • Germ cell tumor
  • Hydrocephalus headings: pineal region tumors
  • Midbrain glioma
  • Neuroendoscopy
  • Occipital transtentorial resection
  • Pineal tumor
  • Pineoblastoma
  • Superior medullary velum

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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