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Lasers now used to treat seizures

05/16/2018

James Kryzanski, MD is a neurosurgeon at Tufts Medical Center.Neurosurgeons at Tufts Medical Center are now using a laser to destroy abnormal brain tissue that causes seizures.

The procedure, called Stereotactic Laser Interstitial Thermal Therapy (LITT) uses intense light energy to heat and eliminate areas of the brain that set off seizures.  Surgeons use real time MRI guided technology to pinpoint the precise brain tissue that needs the treatment, leaving surrounding tissue unharmed.

“This new technique will shift the way we treat seizures,” said James Kryzanski, MD, Chief of the Division of Epilepsy Surgery at Tufts Medical Center. “It is minimally invasive and incredibly precise, which translates to better outcomes for our patients.”

This approach has many benefits compared to the current gold standard surgical procedure - Anterior Temporal Lobectomy (ATL), Dr. Kryzanski explained. ATL is an open surgical procedure involving a large incision and the removal of part of the Anterior Temporal Lobe. With LITT The newer procedure, the MR imaging allows surgeons to locate the exact area of tissue with a small incision and tiny fiber probe. The result is fewer complications and quicker recovery. Patients also experience less pain.

Studies suggest that the effectiveness of the newer procedure is comparable to open surgery with at least half of patients who undergo Stereotactic Laser Therapy experiencing complete freedom from seizures over time.

About one percent of the U.S. population is affected by epilepsy, and about one-third of those patients are unable to control seizures with current medications.

“For many of those who have uncontrolled seizures, this new procedure will be life-changing,” noted Dr. Kryzanski.

To contact the Epilepsy Center at Tufts Medical Center, call 617-636-5848.