The First Non Invasive Epilepsy Treatment Has Been Performed Outside Of The United States

MRI and laser technologies have been used for the first time outside of the United States. Physicians at the Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center are treating the area of the brain know to cause epileptic attacks for patients not responding to medications. Dr. Ido Strauss and Prof. Yitzhak Fried have collaborated with Dr. Firas Fahoum in the neurosurgery department. Yitzhak Fried heads the neurosurgery unit and is a specialist in this method. His technology and knowledge were acquired in Israel.

Patients suffering from serious epileptic seizures are now able to receive this treatment without the necessity of opening the skull. Dr. Ido Strauss explained in the past when medication did not help a patient they had to consider surgery. He stated the new procedure is nearly as successful as performing surgery. Severe seizures can cause trauma, death and impair the patients quality of life. The new procedure is minimally invasive, fast and requires only a short hospital stay when compared to open surgery.

This technique uses LITT or Laser Interstitial Thermal Therapy and the Visualase device. The procedure involves two stages and a close collaboration between the team performing the surgery. The team includes neurosurgery anesthesiologist Dr. Daniel Hyatt, neuroradiologist Dr. Orna Eisenstein, Dafna Ben-Bashat who is in charge of the MRI equipment, informational system experts and medical engineering experts. For additional information please visit

The first stage of the procedure involves inserting a small optic fiber through a 4 mm hole in the skull with a stereotactic navigation system. A connection is made between the Visualase system and the optical fiber. The ablated tissue and real time temperature of the brain are monitored with an MRI scanner. This enables the critical areas of the brain to be preserved.

The source of epileptic seizures is located in the brain’s neural networks. Medical treatment can prevent the occurrence of these attacks. Medication is the first option but when the patient is unresponsive neurosurgical intervention becomes a consideration. Epilepsy affects the ability of the person to work, drive and socially interact. The surgical options include removing the focal point where the seizures originate, using neuromodulation and implanting nerve pacemakers.

These options require a diagnosis from the epilepsy unit. The unit tries to pinpoint the area where the seizures start. There are often numerous focal points. These locations can be near areas controlling the neurological functions. The new procedure is also suitable for youngsters suffering from serious seizures.

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