MRI-Guided Interstitial Laser Ablation for Intracranial Lesions: A Large Single-Institution Experience of 133 Cases

Ashwin A. Kamath, Daniel D. Friedman, Carl D. Hacker, Matthew D. Smyth, David D. Limbrick, Albert H. Kim, Ammar H. Hawasli, Eric C. Leuthardt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


Background: Managing difficult-to-access lesions or surgically accessible lesions in fragile patients is a central problem in neurosurgery. MRI-guided interstitial laser ablation (ILA) is a minimally invasive option that may provide a safe means of treating these challenging patients. Objective: We aim to (1) evaluate safety, efficacy, and preliminary outcomes within a diverse and large series of ILA treatments; and (2) report technical details and operative trends that proved useful over time in the authors' experience and that may be of use to neurosurgeons who perform ILA. Methods: A retrospective evaluation of ILA patients was performed in terms of demographics, surgical techniques, and clinical outcomes. Results: A total of 133 intracranial lesions in 120 patients were treated with ILA, including glioblastomas (GBM), other gliomas, metastases, epilepsy foci, and radionecrosis. The rate of complications/unexpected readmission was 6.0%, and the mortality rate was 2.2%. With high-grade tumors, tumor volumes >3 cm in diameter trended toward a higher rate of complication (p = 0.056). Median progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) for recurrent GBM were 7.4 and 11.6 months, respectively. As a frontline treatment for newly diagnosed GBM, median PFS and OS were 5.9 and 11.4 months, respectively. For metastases, median PFS was not yet reached, and OS was 17.2 months. Conclusion: Our series suggests that ILA is a safe and efficacious treatment for a variety of intracranial pathologies, can be tailored to treat difficult-to-access lesions, and may offer a novel alternative to open craniotomy in properly selected patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)417-428
Number of pages12
JournalStereotactic and Functional Neurosurgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - Mar 1 2018


  • Brain tumors
  • Intracranial lesions
  • Laser ablation
  • Laser interstitial thermal therapy
  • MRI
  • Survival


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