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​Subependymal Giant Cell Astrocytoma (SEGA)

What is Subependymal Giant Cell Astrocytoma?

Subependymal giant cell astrocytoma (SEGA) is a tumor that arises in the ventricular system of people with tuberous sclerosis, a rare genetic disease that causes benign tumor growth throughout the body.

Because these tumors are found in the ventricles, the fluid-filled spaces within the brain, they can obstruct spinal fluid flow and cause neurologic symptoms.

At UPMC, the preferred surgical treatment for SEGA is Neuroendoport® surgery. Neuroendoport surgery gives surgeons access to the tumor through a dime-size channel. This minimally invasive approach offers benefits such as:

  • Minimal scarring
  • Fewer side effects and complications
  • Faster recovery times than with traditional surgery

Diagnosing Subependymal Giant Cell Astrocytoma

Testing to diagnose subependymal giant cell astrocytoma

Like most brain tumors, subependymal giant cell astrocytomas (SEGA) are diagnosed through imaging studies such as MRI or CT scans.

Symptoms of subependymal giant cell astrocytoma

Your doctor will also ask you about your symptoms.

These may include:

  • Headaches
  • Seizures
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Weakness or loss of sensation in the arms and/or legs
  • Speech, vision, or memory problems
  • Personality changes

Subependymal Giant Cell Astrocytoma Treatment

UPMC's neurosurgical team may recommend a combination of surgical and non-surgical approaches to treat subependymal giant cell astrocytomas.


Surgery is the standard treatment for subependymal giant cell astrocytoma.

Neuroendoport® surgery offers a minimally invasive option to reach a tumor such as SEGA within the ventricles (fluid-filled spaces) of the brain. A narrow tube or port allows doctors to access these tumors through a tiny, dime-sized incision in the scalp, in contrast to traditional brain surgery.

Our neurosurgeons take a 360° approach to treatment when evaluating each patient. We look at your condition from every direction to find the path that will be least disruptive to your brain, critical nerves, and ability to return to normal functioning after treatment.

Neuroendoport® Surgery
This animation illustrates the removal of a metastasis using the Neuroendoport technique.