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Author Notes:

Robert E. Gross, MD, PhD, Department of Neurosurgery, Emory University School of Medicine, 1365 Clifton Road, NE, Suite 6200, Atlanta, GA 30322, , Fax: 404-712-8576. rgross@emory.edu

We thank Brad Fernald, PhD and Anil Shetty, PhD for providing additional assistance with data collection and analysis; and Emilee Holland for clinical research coordination.

Dr. Gross serves as a consultant to Visualase and receives compensation for these services.

Dr. Ashok Gowda is an employee and stockholder in Visualase, Inc.

The other authors have no personal financial or institutional interest in any of the drugs, materials, or devices described in this article.


Research Funding:

Funding was provided to Emory University by way of a clinical study agreement from Visualase, Inc., which develops products related to the research described in this paper.

Dr. Daniel Drane receives funding from the NIH/NINDS (K02 NS070960), which provides support for his work.


  • Science & Technology
  • Life Sciences & Biomedicine
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Surgery
  • Neurosciences & Neurology
  • Epilepsy
  • Laser therapy
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Minimally invasive surgical procedures
  • Stereotactic techniques
  • Temporal lobe
  • Thermometry
  • MRI

Real-Time Magnetic Resonance-Guided Stereotactic Laser Amygdalohippocampotomy for Mesial Temporal Lobe Epilepsy

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Journal Title:



Volume 74, Number 6


, Pages 569-584

Type of Work:

Article | Post-print: After Peer Review


BACKGROUND: Open surgery effectively treats mesial temporal lobe epilepsy, but carries the risk of neurocognitive deficits, which may be reduced with minimally invasive alternatives. OBJECTIVE: To describe technical and clinical outcomes of stereotactic laser amygdalohippocampotomy with real-time magnetic resonance thermal imaging guidance. METHODS: With patients under general anesthesia and using standard stereotactic methods, 13 adult patients with intractable mesial temporal lobe epilepsy (with and without mesial temporal sclerosis [MTS]) prospectively underwent insertion of a saline-cooled fiberoptic laser applicator in amygdalohippocampal structures from an occipital trajectory. Computer-controlled laser ablation was performed during continuous magnetic resonance thermal imaging followed by confirmatory contrast-enhanced anatomic imaging and volumetric reconstruction. Clinical outcomes were determined from seizure diaries. RESULTS: A mean 60% volume of the amygdalohippocampal complex was ablated in 13 patients (9 with MTS) undergoing 15 procedures. Median hospitalization was 1 day. With follow-up ranging from 5 to 26 months (median, 14 months), 77% (10/13) of patients achieved meaningful seizure reduction, of whom 54% (7/13) were free of disabling seizures. Of patients with preoperative MTS, 67% (6/9) achieved seizure freedom. All recurrences were observed before 6 months. Variances in ablation volume and length did not account for individual clinical outcomes. Although no complications of laser therapy itself were observed, 1 significant complication, a visual field defect, resulted from deviated insertion of a stereotactic aligning rod, which was corrected before ablation. CONCLUSION: Real-time magnetic resonance-guided stereotactic laser amygdalohippocampotomy is a technically novel, safe, and effective alternative to open surgery. Further evaluation with larger cohorts over time is warranted.

Copyright information:

© 2014 by the Congress of Neurological Surgeons.

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