Laser interstitial thermal therapy using the Leksell Stereotactic System and a diagnostic MRI suite

Acta Neurochirurgica (2023) 165:549–554

Laser interstitial thermal therapy (LITT) is a stereotactic neurosurgical procedure used to treat neoplastic and epileptogenic lesions in the brain. A variety of advanced technological instruments such as frameless navigation systems, robotics, and intraoperative MRI are often described in this context, although the surgical procedure can also be performed using a standard stereotactic setup and a diagnostic MRI suite.

Methods We report on our experience and a surgical technique using a Leksell stereotactic frame and a diagnostic MRI suite to perform LITT.

Conclusion LITT can be safely performed using the Leksell frame and a diagnostic MRI suite, making the technique available even to neuro-oncology centers without advanced technological setup.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging-Guided Stereotactic Laser Ablation of Deep Cerebral Cavernous Malformations

Neurosurgery 89:635–644, 2021

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)-guided laser interstitial thermal therapy (MRgLITT) has been used successfully to treat epileptogenic cortical cerebral cavernous malformations (CCM). It is unclear whether MRgLITT would be as feasible or safe for deep CCMs

OBJECTIVE: To describe our experience with MRgLITT for symptomatic deep CCMs

METHODS: Patients’records were reviewed retrospectively. MRgLITT was carried out using a commercially available system in an interventional MRI suite with efforts to protect adjacent brain structures. Immediate postoperative imaging was used to judge ablation adequacy. Delayed postoperative MRI was used to measure lesion volume changes during follow-up.

RESULTS: Four patients with CCM in the thalamus, putamen, midbrain, or subthalamus presented with persistent and disabling neurological symptoms. A total of 2 patients presented with disabling headaches and sensory disturbances and 2 with recurrent symptomatic hemorrhages, of which 1 had familial CCM. Patients were considered by vascular neurosurgeons to be poor candidates for open surgery or had refused it. Multiple trajectories were used in most cases. Adverse events included device malfunction with leakage of saline causing transient mass effect in one patient, and asymptomatic tract hemorrhage in another. One patient suffered an expected mild but persistent exacerbation of baseline deficits. All patients showed improvement from a previously aggressive clinical course with lesion volume decreased by 20% to 73% in follow-up.

CONCLUSION: MRgLITT is feasible in the treatment of symptomatic deep CCM but may carry a high risk of complications without the benefit of definitive resection. We recommend cautious patient selection, low laser power settings, and conservative temper- ature monitoring in surrounding brain parenchyma.

MRI-guided stereotactic laser corpus callosotomy for epilepsy

J Neurosurg 135:770–782, 2021

Several small series have described stereotactic MRI-guided laser interstitial thermal therapy for partial callosotomy of astatic and generalized tonic-clonic (GTC) seizures, especially in association with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. Larger case series and comparison of distinct stereotactic methods for stereotactic laser corpus callosotomy (SLCC), however, are currently lacking. The objective of this study was to report seizure outcomes in a series of adult patients with epilepsy following anterior, posterior, and complete SLCC procedures and to compare the results achieved with a frameless stereotactic surgical robot versus direct MRI guidance frames.

METHODS The authors retrospectively reviewed sequential adult epilepsy surgery patients who underwent SLCC procedures at a single institution. They describe workflows, stereotactic errors, percentage disconnection, hospitalization durations, adverse events, and seizure outcomes after performing anterior, posterior, and complete SLCC procedures using a frameless stereotactic surgical robot versus direct MRI guidance platforms.

RESULTS Thirteen patients underwent 15 SLCC procedures. The median age at surgery was 29 years (range 20–49 years), the median duration of epilepsy was 21 years (range 9–48 years), and median postablation follow-up was 20 months (range 4–44 months). Ten patients underwent anterior SLCC with a median 73% (range 33%–80%) midsagittal length of callosum acutely ablated. Following anterior SLCC, 6 of 10 patients achieved meaningful (> 50%) reduction of target seizures. Four patients underwent posterior (completion) SLCC following prior anterior callosotomy, and 1 patient underwent complete SLCC as a single procedure; 3 of these 5 patients experienced meaningful reduction of target seizures. Overall, 8 of 10 patients in whom astatic seizures were targeted and treated by anterior and/or posterior SLCC experienced meaningful improvement. SLCC procedures with direct MRI guidance (n = 7) versus a frameless surgical robot (n = 8) yielded median radial accuracies of 1.1 mm (range 0.2–2.0 mm) versus 2.4 mm (range 0.6–6.1 mm; p = 0.0011). The most serious adverse event was a clinically significant intraparenchymal hemorrhage in a patient who underwent the robotic technique.

CONCLUSIONS This is the largest reported series of SLCC for epilepsy to date. SLCC provides seizure outcomes comparable to open surgery outcomes reported in the literature. Direct MRI guidance is more accurate, which has the potential to reduce the risks of SLCC. Methodological advancements and larger studies are needed.

Laser Ablation of Abnormal Neurological Tissue Using Robotic Neuroblate System (LAANTERN)

Neurosurgery 86:538–547, 2020

Stereotactic laser ablation (SLA) has demonstrated potential utility for a spectrum of difficult to treat neurosurgical pathologies in multiple small and/or retrospective single-institutional series. Here, we present the safety profile of SLA of intracranial lesions from the Laser Ablation of Abnormal Neurological Tissue using Robotic NeuroBlate System (LAANTERN; Monteris Medical) multi-institutional, international prospective observational registry.

OBJECTIVE: To determine the procedural safety of SLA for intracranial lesions.

METHODS: Prospective procedural safety and hospitalization data from the first 100 treated LAANTERN patients was collected and analyzed.

RESULTS: Mean age and baseline Karnofsky Performance Status (KPS) were 51(±17) yr and 83(± 15), respectively. In total, 81.2% of patients had undergone prior surgical or radiation treatment. Most patients had a single lesion (79%) ablated through 1 burr hole (1.2±0.7 per patient), immediately following a lesion biopsy. In total, >90% of the lesion was ablated in 72% of treated lesions. Average total procedural time was 188.2 ± 69.6 min, and average blood loss was 17.7 ± 55.6 ccs. The average length of intensive care unit (ICU) and hospital stays before discharge were 38.1 ± 62.7 h and 61.1 ± 87.2 h, respectively. There were 5 adverse events (AEs) attributable to SLA (5/100; 5%). After the procedure, 84.8% of patients were discharged home. There was 1 mortality within 30 d of the procedure (1/100; 1%), which was not attributable to SLA.

CONCLUSION: SLA is a safe, minimally invasive procedure with favorable postprocedural ICU and hospital utilization profiles.

A novel mesial temporal stereotactic coordinate system

J Neurosurg 130:67–75, 2019

Stereotactic laser ablation and neurostimulator placement represent an evolution in staged surgical intervention for epilepsy. As this practice evolves, optimal targeting will require standardized outcome measures that compare electrode lead or laser source with postprocedural changes in seizure frequency. The authors propose and present a novel stereotactic coordinate system based on mesial temporal anatomical landmarks to facilitate the planning and delineation of outcomes based on extent of ablation or region of stimulation within mesial temporal structures.

METHODS The body of the hippocampus contains a natural axis, approximated by the interface of cornu ammonis area 4 and the dentate gyrus. The uncal recess of the lateral ventricle acts as a landmark to characterize the anteriorposterior extent of this axis. Several volumetric rotations are quantified for alignment with the mesial temporal coordinate system. First, the brain volume is rotated to align with standard anterior commissure–posterior commissure (AC-PC) space. Then, it is rotated through the axial and sagittal angles that the hippocampal axis makes with the AC-PC line.

RESULTS Using this coordinate system, customized MATLAB software was developed to allow for intuitive standardization of targeting and interpretation. The angle between the AC-PC line and the hippocampal axis was found to be approximately 20°–30° when viewed sagittally and approximately 5°–10° when viewed axially. Implanted electrodes can then be identified from CT in this space, and laser tip position and burn geometry can be calculated based on the intraoperative and postoperative MRI.

CONCLUSIONS With the advent of stereotactic surgery for mesial temporal targets, a mesial temporal stereotactic system is introduced that may facilitate operative planning, improve surgical outcomes, and standardize outcome assessment.


Laser interstitial thermal therapy followed by minimal-access transsulcal resection for the treatment of large and dif cult to access brain tumors


Neurosurg Focus 41 (4):E14, 2016

Laser interstitial thermal therapy (LITT), sometimes referred to as “stereotactic laser ablation,” has demonstrated utility in a subset of high-risk surgical patients with dificult to access (DTA) intracranial neoplasms. However, the treatment of tumors larger than 10 cm3 is associated with suboptimal outcomes and morbidity. This may limit the utility of LITT in dealing with precisely those large or deep tumors that are most dif cult to treat with conventional approaches. Recently, several groups have reported on minimally invasive transsulcal approaches utilizing tubular retracting systems. However, these approaches have been primarily used for intraventricular or paraventricular lesions, and subtotal resections have been reported for intraparenchymal lesions. Here, the authors describe a combined approach of LITT followed by minimally invasive transsulcal resection for large and DTA tumors.

Methoss The authors retrospectively reviewed the results of LITT immediately followed by minimally invasive, trans-sulcal, transportal resection in 10 consecutive patients with unilateral, DTA malignant tumors > 10 cm3. The patients, 5 males and 5 females, had a median age of 65 years. Eight patients had glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), 1 had a previously treated GBM with radiation necrosis, and 1 had a melanoma brain metastasis. The median tumor volume treated was 38.0 cm3.

Results The median tumor volume treated to the yellow thermal dose threshold (TDT) line was 83% (range 76%– 92%), the median tumor volume treated to the blue TDT line was 73% (range 60%–87%), and the median extent of resection was 93% (range 84%–100%). Two patients suffered mild postoperative neurological de cits, one transiently. Four patients have died since this analysis and 6 remain alive. Median progression-free survival was 280 days, and median overall survival was 482 days.

Conclusions Laser interstitial thermal therapy followed by minimally invasive transsulcal resection, reported here for the first time, is a novel option for patients with large, DTA, malignant brain neoplasms. There were no unexpected neurological complications in this series, and operative characteristics improved as surgeon experience increased. Further studies are needed to elucidate any differences in survival or quality of life metrics.

Stereotactic laser ablation as treatment for brain metastases that recur after stereotactic radiosurgery


Neurosurg Focus 41 (4):E11, 2016

Therapeutic options for brain metastases (BMs) that recur after stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) remain limited. Methods The authors provide the collective experience of 4 institutions where treatment of BMs that recurred after SRS was performed with stereotactic laser ablation (SLA).

Results Twenty-six BMs (in 23 patients) that recurred after SRS were treated with SLA (2 patients each underwent 2 SLAs for separate lesions, and a third underwent 2 serial SLAs for discrete BMs). Histological findings in the BMs treated included the following: breast (n = 6); lung (n = 6); melanoma (n = 5); colon (n = 2); ovarian (n = 1); bladder (n = 1); esophageal (n = 1); and sarcoma (n = 1). With a median follow-up duration of 141 days (range 64–794 days), 9 of the SLA-treated BMs progressed despite treatment (35%). All cases of progression occurred in BMs in which < 80% ablation was achieved, whereas no disease progression was observed in BMs in which ≥ 80% ablation was achieved. Five BMs were treated with SLA, followed 1 month later by adjuvant SRS (5 Gy daily × 5 days). No disease progression was observed in these patients despite ablation efficiency of < 80%, suggesting that adjuvant hypofractionated SRS enhances the efficacy of SLA. Of the 23 SLA-treated patients, 3 suffered transient hemiparesis (13%), 1 developed hydrocephalus requiring temporary ventricular drainage (4%), and 1 patient who underwent SLA of a 28.9-cm3 lesion suffered a neurological deficit requiring an emergency hemicraniectomy (4%). Although there is significant heterogeneity in corticosteroid treatment post-SLA, most patients underwent a 2-week taper.

Conclusions Stereotactic laser ablation is an effective treatment option for BMs in which SRS fails. Ablation of ≥ 80% of BMs is associated with decreased risk of disease progression. The efficacy of SLA in this setting may be augmented by adjuvant hypofractionated SRS.