Krembil Brain Institute acquires revolutionary laser ablation system for brain cancer, epilepsy

The Visualase Laser Interstitial Thermal Therapy (LITT) system (Photo courtesy of Medtronic). 

Krembil Brain Institute is the first healthcare facility in Canada to acquire a Visualase™ Laser Interstitial Thermal Therapy (LITT) system, which uses an MRI-guided laser ablation technique to surgically remove brain cancer and lesions.

“Laser Interstitial Thermal Therapy is a novel technology in how we care for brain lesions,” says Dr. Gelareh Zadeh, neurosurgeon and Medical Director, Krembil Brain Institute. “We are thrilled that Krembil Brain Institute will now be able to offer this option to our patients.”

Observed in real-time using MRI imaging, LITT uses a laser fibre that generates heat to destroy brain lesions and other diseased brain tissue. LITT is gaining recognition internationally for its ability to manage difficult-to-access and otherwise inoperable lesions, resulting in a shorter length of stay, faster recovery time and less scarring. LITT can also be used in cases of radiosurgery-induced radionecrosis for patients with brain metastases.

“This technology allows for safe, minimally invasive access to areas of the brain that are either impossible or too risky to reach via open surgery,” says Dr. Suneil Kalia, neurosurgeon and scientist, Krembil Brain Institute. “In many cases, such as deep brain abnormalities causing epilepsy or tumours found in difficult locations, LITT may be the only treatment option for our patients.”

Dr. Kalia is a member of one of the largest teams of functional neurosurgeons in North America. “Our team consists of highly skilled, recognized experts with a wealth and history of experience with safe and accurate targeted delivery into deep and difficult-to-reach areas of the brain,” says Dr. Zadeh. “The addition of LITT will help position us as a global leader in advanced technologies to treat various diseases of the brain.”

Krembil Brain Institute was able to purchase the LITT technology thanks to several generous donors. “Philanthropy and Toronto General & Western Hospital Foundation play a critical role in our ability to continue to lead the field of neurosurgery,” says Dr. Zadeh. “The team at Krembil Brain Institute is grateful that people are willing to step forward and help us advance the care of patients.”