• Neurosurgery
  • Laser Ablation Surgery for Epilepsy

    Texas Children's Hospital is the first hospital in the world to use real-time MRI-guided thermal imaging and laser technology to destroy lesions in the brain that cause epilepsy and uncontrollable seizures.

    According to hospital experts, this new surgical approach offers a safer and significantly less invasive alternative to craniotomy, currently the most commonly used cranial surgical treatment for epilepsy. For high-risk patients with deep brain lesions, this new technique can be particularly life-changing because the MRI-guided laser probe utilizes a much smaller pathway through the brain to reach a deep lesion. This reduces the risk of patient complications related to contact with surrounding brain tissue. In addition, the MRI-guided laser probe is inserted through a hole in the skull that is only 3.2 mm (about the diameter of a pen) versus the removal of a larger area of skull bone for a craniotomy. Because it is a less invasive procedure, patient recovery time is much shorter.  

    Learn more about the procedure. 

    Keagan's Story

    A recent example of the effectiveness of this new surgery is 9-year-old Texas Children’s Hospital patient Keagan Dysart, of Converse, Texas, who suffered from two types of epileptic seizures when he was diagnosed with a hypothalamic hamartoma in his brain. The gelastic seizure caused him to giggle and laugh uncontrollably 2 or 3 times an hour. Keagan would also periodically experience a tonic seizure, with generalized body stiffening and loss of awareness that caused him to fall asleep for sometimes up to an hour afterward. 

    New Laser Treatment Gives Hope To Children With Epilepsy Keagan’s case was particularly high risk because his lesion was located in the hypothalamus, near the brain stem. In this highly sensitive region, there are a myriad of potential, serious complications from surgery including loss of sight, damage to the pituitary gland, stroke from artery damage or development of diabetes insipidus (DI), a potentially fatal condition where the kidneys are unable to conserve water because of disruption to the area of the brain that releases the body’s anti-diuretic hormone.

    The location, size and complexity of Keagan’s brain lesion made him an ideal candidate for the new surgical procedure, which was successfully performed in March without any surgical complications. He is now seizure-free.   

    For more information or to find out if your child is a candidate for this procedure, please call 832-822-5046 or email us at .

    View a presentation describing the breakthrough epilepsy procedure. 

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