Neurosurgical applications of MRI guided laser interstitial thermal therapy (LITT)

Usama Salem, Vinodh A. Kumar, John E. Madewell, Donald F. Schomer, Dhiego Chaves De Almeida Bastos, Pascal O. Zinn, Jeffrey S. Weinberg, Ganesh Rao, Sujit S. Prabhu, Rivka R. Colen

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


MRI-guided laser interstitial thermal therapy (LITT) is the selective ablation of a lesion or a tissue using heat emitted from a laser device. LITT is considered a less invasive technique compared to open surgery that provides a nonsurgical solution for patients who cannot tolerate surgery. Although laser ablation has been used to treat brain lesions for decades, recent advances in MRI have improved lesion targeting and enabled real-time accurate monitoring of the thermal ablation process. These advances have led to a plethora of research involving the technique, safety, and potential applications of LITT. LITT is a minimally invasive treatment modality that shows promising results and is associated with decreased morbidity. It has various applications, such as treatment of glioma, brain metastases, radiation necrosis, and epilepsy. It can provide a safer alternative treatment option for patients in whom the lesion is not accessible by surgery, who are not surgical candidates, or in whom other standard treatment options have failed. Our aim is to review the current literature on LITT and provide a descriptive review of the technique, imaging findings, and clinical applications for neurosurgery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number65
JournalCancer Imaging
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 15 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Laser ablation
  • Laser interstitial thermal therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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