What is a hamartoma?

A hamartoma is an abnormal growth that's made up of the same tissue from which it grows.

  • The abnormality is that there are an excess number of cells that are structurally different from the main cells.
  • A hamartoma occurs when the tissue in the growth did not develop completely.
  • Hamartomas can occur throughout the body, but are often found in the head and neck, particularly around the ears.
  • If hamartomas occur in multiple sites throughout the body, their presence is called Cowden's disease.

Hypothalamic hamartomas and epilepsy

A hamartoma in the hypothalamus can cause your child to have seizures. Recent studies have shown that using laser ablation to remove this kind of hamartoma has been incredibly effective. Boston Children's neurosurgeons Joseph Madsen, MD and Scellig Stone, MD, PhD are two of only a handful of experts offering this minimally invasive therapy.