North Shore-LIJ’s Cushing Neuroscience Institute Announces the Hypothalamic Hamartoma Center

MANHASSET, NY – The Cushing Neuroscience Institute (CNI), part of the North Shore-LIJ Health System, today announced the launch of the Hypothalamic Hamartoma Center (HHC), specializing in the comprehensive evaluation and treatment of this rare birth defect.

A hypothalamic hamartoma is a benign brain lesion found in the hypothalamus, a small but critical area located deep within the brain that is responsible for many of the automatic functions of the brain, including hunger, thirst, temperature and hormone regulation. A hypothalamic hamartoma can cause many types of seizures (or fits), premature puberty, and progressive deterioration of behavioral and cognitive function.

 “While hypothalamic hamartomas are debilitating, the good news is that surgical removal of this birth defect can often result in the patient having a normal or much-improved life,” said neurosurgeon Harold L. Rekate, MD, director of CNI’s Hypothalamic Hamartoma Center. “Although several treatment options are available, the plan of clinical care must be strategically individualized because what may be appropriate for one patient, may be different for another depending on the anatomy of the lesion.”

In addition to Dr. Rekate, the HHC will be staffed with a multidisciplinary team of experts, including:

“Since our physicians and specially trained experts are involved in all treatment plans and therapies, our Hypothalamic Hamartoma Center will serve as a prime destination for those suffering from this rare condition,” said Dr. Rekate.

Surgical removal of hypothalamic hamartoma involves working within the center of the brain, while protecting the many vital structures that surround the mass.  The surrounding structures include all the arteries that supply the brain -- the areas of the brain that are responsible for memory, thirst, hunger passion, rage and all of the body’s hormone control.  Avoiding these vital structures and yet removing this mass requires the ability to use different approaches in different patients.  In most cases, the hamartoma can be removed using an endoscope through a very small hole in the skull.  In some patients, more than one approach is necessary to completely remove the mass.  Dr. Rekate is world-renowned for his extensive experience in the treatment of this rare disorder.

For more information about CNI’s Hypothalamic Hamartoma Center, go to or call (516) 570-4400.

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