Bilateral thalamic lesions

G. Menon, S. Nair, J. Sudhir, B.R.M. Rao, K. Krishnakumar

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14 Citations (Scopus)


Objective. Bilateral thalamic lesions are rare and relatively obscure neoplasms. We present our experience with nine cases of bilateral thalamic lesions and attempt to analyse them in the background of available literature. Materials and methods. Retrospective analyses of the case records of 9 cases of bilateral thalamic lesions treated in our department since January 2002, which have a minimum of 1 year follow-up. Results. The study group included four males and five females with a mean age of 14. 6 years (5 years to 29 years). Seven of these patients had radiological evidence of bilateral thalamic lesions at presentation and 2 patients had involvement of the opposite thalamus at a later stage of the disease. All patients except one presented with raised intracranial pressure symptoms. Focal motor deficits (4/9), behavioral and memory disturbances (3/9) were the other major presenting symptoms. Biopsy confirmation was possible in six patients and histopathology was suggestive of low grade fibrillary astrocytoma in all six patients. Seven patients required CSF diversion procedure for associated hydrocephalus. Eight of our nine patients underwent radiotherapy. On last follow-up, 3 patients were clinically stable with images suggestive of arrested disease, four patients had evidence of progressive disease both clinically and radiologically and there were two recorded cases of mortality. Conclusion. Primary bilateral thalamic lesions have characteristic neuroradiological properties and are distinct from unilateral thalamic tumours with bilateral progression. Almost all of these lesions on histology prove to be gliomas but decompressive surgery is seldom feasible. Surgical intervention is limited to biopsy and CSF diversion for hydrocephalus. Bilateral thalamic lesions remain unresponsive to adjuvant therapy and generally carry a poor prognosis. © 2010 The Neurosurgical Foundation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)566-571
Number of pages6
JournalBritish Journal of Neurosurgery
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2010


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