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MRI-Guided Laser Ablation for Brain Tumors

MRI-Guided Laser Ablation: What You Need to Know

  • MRI-guided laser ablation is a minimally invasive neurosurgical technique for a number of diseases, including brain tumors.

  • The treatment uses lasers to target and destroy, or ablate, the tumor.

  • Compared to traditional open surgery (craniotomy) to remove a brain tumor, MRI-guided laser ablation can reduce pain after surgery and shorten recovery time.

  • A variation of this technology, called laser interstitial thermal therapy, or LiTT, is used for some people with focal seizures, which are seizures coming from one region of the brain.

Brain Tumor Treatment

MRI-guided laser ablation is a minimally invasive neurosurgical option for the treatment of brain tumors. The procedure may reduce certain surgical risks associated with traditional open brain tumor surgery, and may reduce pain and shorten recovery time.

More important, MRI-guided laser ablation can help surgeons manage more challenging tumors like glioblastoma, a dangerously aggressive glioma tumor that frequently recurs and can be life-threatening.

The procedure may make it easier for neurosurgeons to gain access to some tumors that are located close to sensitive structures or deep in the skull where they would be hard to reach through traditional open craniotomy.

More Information About Brain Tumor Treatment from Johns Hopkins Medicine

Infographic: Advancements in Brain Tumor Treatment

Brain tumor treatment continues to evolve with new techniques and technologies, and your doctor has more options than ever to choose from when designing your individualized treatment plan. Here’s a quick look at some newer developments that may improve the outlook for those living with brain tumors.

View full infographic.

During the Procedure

While the patient is under general anesthesia, the surgeon makes a small hole in the skull.

Using MRI for guidance, the surgeon navigates a thin, fiber-optic laser applicator toward the area in the person’s brain where the tumor is located. Laser heat is used to destroy the cancerous tissue. The applicator is removed and the surgeon closes the incision.

The procedure may need to be repeated.

After the Procedure

Most people can go home within a couple of days of MRI-guided laser ablation therapy and many can get back to normal activities, including work, in less time than after a craniotomy.

More information about brain tumor treatment in the Health Library

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