Epilepsy Laser Surgery

Laser ablation is a new laser technology that utilizes light energy to target the lesion or region of the brain responsible for causing epileptic seizures. It can also be used to destroy brain tumors. Laser energy is delivered to the target area in the brain using a laser probe that is inserted directly into the target area. As light is delivered through the laser probe, temperatures in the target area begin to rise, destroying the unwanted tissue.

The technology is the latest addition to Dell Children’s growing expertise in the division of neuroscience. The laser technology process has been shown to be highly precise, allowing the neurosurgeon to destroy only the targeted tissue, leaving healthy surrounding tissues unharmed (+/- 1 mm). Because these procedures are guided by MRI images, they can be more precise than conventional surgery. The procedure is minimally invasive and requires only one suture.

A special device was created for and first used at DCMC Comprehensive Epilepsy Program for placement of a seizure monitoring probe to deep areas in the brain prior to laser ablation. This allows for even better precision in identifying the area causing seizures. Laser ablation typically only requires a one day hospital stay with a much shorter recovery time than conventional surgery.


The fiber-optic laser is placed in the operating room through a 3.2mm drill hole.


The patient is then brought to MRI to confirm correct laser placement.


MR imaging is used to visualize thermal and damage estimates in real-time to provide precision control of the ablation.


A post-ablation contrast MRI image confirms the ablation zone.