Twelve patients underwent endoscopic biopsy of a tumor involving the third ventricle. Nine patients had no significant medical history while 3 had a history of cancer. Unique characteristics of each case dictated the optimal surgical technique. Endoscopic tumor biopsy was combined with additional procedures in 9 cases; shunt insertion (3), shunt insertion with endoscopic septostomy (5), and transcallosal craniotomy (1). Diagnosis was established in 11 patients (92%); 6 primary brain tumors, 3 metastatic central nervous system tumors, 1 metastatic systemic cancer, and 1 region of post-treatment gliosis. One case was aborted due to poor visualization. Therapy was directly influenced by endoscopic biopsy in 11/12 cases (92%) and craniotomy for tumor resection was avoided in 10/12 patients (83%). Of the 5 patients who underwent endoscopic septostomy, 4 required no subsequent procedures for hydrocephalus. There were no complications, and hospital stay averaged 1.78 days for patients who underwent successful endoscopic biopsy. Tumors of the third ventricle are amenable to endoscopic biopsy with excellent diagnostic yield and low morbidity. The procedure must be tailored depending upon the tumor location within the third ventricle, the degree of ventriculomegaly, and the need to perform a septostomy. Singularly or combined with other endoscopic procedures, patients can be spared multiple and more invasive surgical procedures.

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