Visualase- MRI Guided Laser Ablation

Overview

What it is
Visualase is a minimally invasive surgical therapy that is used for the treatment of select patients with adult or pediatric epilepsy. The system allows for precise delivery of laser energy to the focus of seizures in the brain. The laser energy heats and ultimately burns its intended target, while sparing surrounding normal tissue.

Who can benefit
Patients with medically refractory focal epilepsy (epilepsy that originates in a well-defined region of the brain) are potentially candidates for this procedure.

How it works
A small incision (typically < 3 mm), is made in the scalp, and very small hole is made in the skull. Then a laser fiber is inserted through the brain to the seizure focus. This part of the procedure is performed using stereotactic guidance for precise laser fiber placement. A MRI is then performed to verify the location of the laser fiber. Then using real time MRI thermography, the laser is started and the surgeon watches and guides the burning of the seizure focus. Treatment time varies, but can last up to several hours. The laser fiber is then removed and a single stitch is placed to close the scalp incision. Post-treatment, the patient is observed overnight in the hospital and usually goes home the next day.