Houston Chronicle, July 19, 2011
Houston pediatric doctors have begun treating difficult epilepsy cases with laser surgery, a safer, less invasive alternative to opening the skull and cutting out brain lesions that cause the disease. Neurosurgeons at Texas Children's Hospital on Monday described their use of MRI-guided laser technology to destroy lesions in hard-to-access regions of the brain in six patients, all seizure-free since. They said Texas Children's is the world's first hospital to employ the technique for epilepsy. "This should open a door to curative, complication-free epilepsy surgery for both children and adults," said Daniel Curry, MD, the Texas Children's neurosurgeon who performed the surgeries. "The reduced risk and invasiveness while providing instant therapeutic effect should tip the balance in favor of laser surgery." Curry said laser surgery, already used in brain cancer patients, ultimately could become a treatment of choice for many of the nearly 1 million epileptics in the U.S. who continue to have seizures despite use of medication.