North Shore-LIJ’s Epilepsy Center Performs the Most Laser Ablation Cases in Northeast to Treat Epileptic Seizures


Media Contact: Michelle Pipia-Stiles

MANHASSET, NY -- The Comprehensive Epilepsy Care Center at North Shore-LIJ’s Cushing Neuroscience Institute (CNI) is the first center in the Northeast to perform nine laser ablation cases, a new magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)-guided thermal imaging and laser technology recently used to treat epileptic seizures. 

Ashesh Mehta, MD, PhD, director of epilepsy surgery at North Shore-LIJ’s Comprehensive Epilepsy Care Center and who performed the first laser ablation procedure in New York State in January 2012, said, “Temporal lobe epilepsy is the most common form of epilepsy for which patients undergo brain surgery.  Laser ablation technology is useful in patients with a type of temporal lobe epilepsy called mesial temporal lobe epilepsy, where there can be a loss of neurons and scarring of the deepest portion of the temporal lobe.  This scarring is often the cause for seizures that cannot be controlled by medications alone.  Laser ablation allows the neurosurgeon to simultaneously deliver and monitor the treatment while the patient undergoes MRI imaging.  Furthermore, a minimally-invasive procedure is performed to accurately position the probe rather than traditional surgery, which requires a more invasive craniotomy. In the nine cases we have done thus far, all have had reduced seizures and seven out of nine, no longer have disabling seizures.”

The procedure involves a one-quarter-inch incision through which the laser ablation probe is placed.  The laser ablation delivers energy produced by a laser to heat the diseased, seizure-producing regions deep within the brain.  The treatment is focused and MRI temperature maps provide neurosurgeons with a real-time view of the diseased tissue being destroyed, which eliminates damage to healthy tissue.  The laser probe is then removed and the small incision is closed with one stitch. Patients who undergo traditional open-craniotomy typically spend three to four days in the hospital with a three- to six-week recovery period.  On the other hand, after the minimally invasive laser therapy, patients typically go home the following day and recover in one week or less.

About CNI’s Comprehensive Epilepsy Care Center:
The Comprehensive Epilepsy Care Center is a truly integrated and multidisciplinary endeavor, with epilepsy neurologists, nurses, pharmacists, neurosurgeons, neuropsychologists, social workers, technical staff and an administrative team, all working together to provide care and support for both adult and pediatric epilepsy patients. It is the largest and most comprehensive program on Long Island for the evaluation and medical and surgical treatment of epilepsy in children and adults. Patients and families benefit from a unique and multidisciplinary model of care, integrating the expertise of clinical staff and the availability of cutting-edge technology to enable accurate diagnosis, effective treatment and improved quality of life. For more information, visit the Comprehensive Epilepsy Care Center or call (516) 325-7060.