Laser Interstitial Therapy

Laser interstitial therapy precisely targets seizures for drug-resistant epilepsy and tumors for brain cancer. 

Laser interstitial therapy precisely targets seizures for drug-resistant epilepsy and tumors for brain cancer. 

Laser interstitial therapy (LITT, also called MRI-guided laser ablation) is a minimally invasive surgical technique.

LITT allows Rush neurosurgeons to treat:

  • Epilepsy that does not respond to medications (known as intractable epilepsy)
  • Brain tumors that can be hard to reach with conventional surgery

How Does LITT Work at Rush?

With LITT, a neurosurgeon implants a laser catheter into the part of the brain having seizures (in epilepsy) or into the tumor (for brain cancer). The neurosurgeon guides the laser using real-time MRI. The laser is heated to temperatures high enough to kill the tumor or the area of the brain where your seizures start.  

Most patients can go home the day after treatment and can quickly return to normal activities.

Unlike conventional surgery, LITT does not require a large opening in the skull. Instead, neurosurgeons create a small hole in your skin that is easily stitched. 

The Benefits of LITT

  • Faster recovery time
  • Shorter hospital stays
  • Minimal post-procedure pain
  • Little or no hair removal at the treatment site
  • Reduced post-surgery cognitive issues
  • Reduction in seizures
  • Improved quality of life

If you would like to learn more about LITT, you will be referred to a neurosurgeon who will determine if LITT is the best treatment option for you.

Rush Excellence in Laser Interstitial Therapy

  • Nationally ranked experts focused on you: U.S. News & World Report ranked Rush University Medical Center among the nation's best for neurology and neurosurgery.
  • A multidisciplinary brain tumor team: If you have been diagnosed with a brain tumor, you may receive care through The Coleman Foundation Comprehensive Brain Tumor Clinic at Rush University Cancer Center. Here, you’ll meet with your care team together in a single visit. Your team may include a neuro-oncologist, neurosurgeon, radiation oncologist and a nurse coordinator.
  • Focused on quality of life: The brain tumor services team puts your quality of life and your family’s needs first. The Rush University Cancer Center's supportive care services offer many resources to help you and your family cope with the physical and emotional effects of brain cancer. Social workers, therapists, nutritionists, integrative medicine specialists, chaplains and patient navigators are all available to support you through your treatment and beyond.
  • Intractable epilepsy experts: Rush Epilepsy Care epileptologists are experts at treating epilepsy that does not respond to medication. They can offer you holistic options to address your intractable epilepsy, including LITT and other minimally invasive treatments.