How is craniopharyngioma treated?
The initial treatment for craniopharyngioma almost always includes surgery. Our team at Children’s Hospital Colorado is highly specialized and performs many brain tumor operations each month.
Craniopharyngioma surgery approaches
The goal of surgery for craniopharyngioma is determined by each patient’s specific characteristics. When the risk of injury is low, the goal is to completely remove the tumor. When there is more risk, the goal may be to sample enough tissue to obtain a diagnosis, while also improving the symptoms that brought the patient to medical attention. We make all decisions regarding the goals and approach for surgery together with the patient and family.
Each patient is evaluated individually. When complete surgical removal is not in the patient’s best interest, surgery may be supplemented with radiation treatment, which generally offers excellent control of tumor growth.
Our multidisciplinary team of experts
Because hormone and visual problems can develop as a result of craniopharyngioma, all of our patients are cared for by a multidisciplinary team of pediatric specialists. These include experts in neurosurgery, neuro-oncology, endocrinology, ophthalmology, neurology, neuropsychology, physical medicine and rehabilitation. Our team follows children with craniopharyngioma in a single, unified program (Neuro-Oncology Program within the multidisciplinary clinic) where the patient and family can see all the specialists in one afternoon. This clinic is offered twice monthly.
Why choose Children’s Hospital Colorado for your child’s craniopharyngioma?
Our Neurosurgery Program and Neuro-Oncology Program are the only clinics in the Rocky Mountain region where your child can get state-of-the-art treatment for a pediatric brain tumor. Our doctors and nurse practitioners are known internationally for their expertise in diagnosing, treating and caring for kids and young adults with craniopharyngioma.
We offer the only dedicated pediatric radiation oncologist in the region, which means our sole focus is radiation therapy for kids. Our radiation therapy is planned and administered for the sensitive nature of a child's growing brain. Because your child's brain is still developing, it is important that the radiation doctor knows exactly what, where and how much radiation to deliver to the tumor.
Doctors and nurses who specialize in anesthesia will take care of your child during radiation. You can feel comfortable knowing that our pediatric staff will sedate your child to help him/her sleep and lie still so the radiation goes to exactly the right spot.
Lastly, Children’s Hospital Colorado is the home institution of the Advancing Treatment for Pediatric Craniopharyngioma (ATPC) Consortium. This consortium is dedicated to the identification of improved treatments for children with craniopharyngioma, and was initially funded thanks to The Morgan Adams Foundation Pediatric Brain Tumor Research Program.
With permission from patients and their families, member institutions share tumor tissue and information regarding the patient’s treatment and symptoms with researchers at Children’s Colorado/University of Colorado, led by our pediatric neurosurgeon Dr. Todd Hankinson.
In the research laboratories, we use sophisticated methods to study the unique characteristics of these tumors. ATPC is the only consortium in North America dedicated only to the study of pediatric craniopharyngioma.