MR-guided laser-induced thermal therapy (MRgLITT) can be used to treat intracranial tumors, epilepsy, and chronic pain syndromes. Here, the authors report their single-center experience with 102 patients, the largest series to date in which the Visualase thermal therapy system was used.
A retrospective analysis of all patients who underwent MRgLITT between 2010 and 2014 was performed. Pathologies included glioma, recurrent metastasis, radiation necrosis, chronic pain, and epilepsy. Laser catheters were placed stereotactically, and ablation was performed in the MRI suite. Demographics, operative parameters, length of hospital stay, and complications were recorded. Thirty-day readmission rates were calculated by using the standard method according to America's Health Insurance Plans Center for Policy and Research guidelines.
A total of 133 lasers were placed in 102 patients who required intervention for intracranial tumors (87 patients), chronic pain syndrome (cingulotomy, 5 patients), or epilepsy (10 patients). The procedure was completed in 98% (100) of these patients. Ninety-two patients (90.2%) had undergone previous treatment for their intracranial tumors. The average (± SD) total procedural time was 170.5 ± 34.4 minutes, and the mean laser-on time was 8.7 ± 6.8 minutes. The average intensive care unit (ICU) and hospital stays were 1.8 and 3.6 days, respectively, and the median length of stay for both the ICU and the hospital was 1 day. By postoperative Day 1, 54% of the patients (n = 55) were neurologically stable for discharge. There were 27 cases of morbidity, including new-onset neurological deficits, and 2 perioperative deaths. Fourteen patients (13.7%) developed new deficits after the MRgLITT procedure, and of those 14 patients, 64.3% (n = 9) had complete resolution of deficits within 1 month, 7.1% (n = 1) had partial resolution of symptoms within 1 month, 14.3% (n = 2) had not had resolution of symptoms at the most recent follow-up, and 14.3% (n = 2) died without resolution of symptoms. The 30-day readmission rate was 5.6%
MRgLITT, although minimally invasive, must be used with caution. Thermal damage to critical and eloquent structures can occur despite MRI guidance. Once the learning curve is overcome, the overall procedural complication rate is low, and most patients can be discharged within 24 hours, with a relatively low readmission rate. In cases in which they occurred, most neurological deficits were temporary. The therapeutic role of MRgLITT in various intracranial diseases will require larger and more rigorous studies.