Laser-Induced Thermal Therapy in Neuro-Oncology: A Review

Omar Ashraf, Nitesh V. Patel, Simon Hanft, Shabbar F. Danish

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Objectives: Laser therapy has become an appealing treatment modality in neurosurgery. In this review, we report on the history, physics, surgical steps, indications and uses, and complications that have been reported to date. Methods: An extensive literature search was performed for laser interstitial thermal therapy (LITT) and laser therapy in the context of glial tumors, metastatic lesions, pediatric brain tumors, and radiation necrosis. Reported complications in each series also were reviewed. Results: In the past decade, multiple studies have demonstrated the use, outcomes, and complications associated with LITT in neurosurgery. These same studies have consistently reported an overall benefit of LITT in cases in which traditional surgical approaches may be limited by the patient's clinical status, tumor location, or overall prognosis. However, there have been complications reported from local effects of thermal damage, technical error, and edema development. Increased experience has reduced complications and brought more promising results. Conclusions: With the advent of real-time monitoring and damage estimation, LITT has gained ground in the management of intracranial tumors. Larger scale trials must be performed to develop standard protocols to define specific indications for use. Further large clinical studies for LITT in non-oncologic cases are also of interest.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)166-177
Number of pages12
JournalWorld Neurosurgery
StatePublished - Apr 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


  • Ablation
  • Laser therapy for brain tumors
  • Lasers
  • Magnetic resonance-guided laser-induced thermal therapy

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