Lasers in Brain Surgery

This is a new technique and sometimes using lasers can help to remove a brain tumour. They do require opening the skull and are used during a craniotomy. The AutoLITT System uses an MRI-guided laser probe, passed through a small bur hole in the skull, to deliver laser interstitial thermal therapy (“LITT”) to heat and coagulate the tumour from the inside. High-intensity laser energy is applied directly to the tumour, rather than passing through normal tissue, while the MRI measures the temperature inside the brain, showing thermal damage as it happens and facilitating precise control of the treatment. Once coagulated, the treated tumour mass is dead.

It is useful for what have previously been regarded as inoperable tumours. It is not likely to make inoperable tumours removable and as yet there is no good quality evidence to show that lasers improves the safety and efficiency of surgery

Date published: 17-05-2009
Last edited: 28-02-2018
Due for review: 28-02-2021