What Is Laser Interstitial Thermal Therapy (LITT)?

Laser Interstitial Thermal Therapy (LITT) is a minimally-invasive treatment option for people with brain tumours, epilepsy and other neurological disorders. LITT is also called laser ablation and uses an MRI-guided laser probe to deliver heat to the lesion and destroy the harmful cells.

While it is an emerging technique used for treating epilepsy, LITT is found to be effective in treating deep-seated brain tumours that cannot be accessed or successfully treated by craniotomy.

Types of Cancers Treated With Laser Interstitial Thermal Therapy (LITT)

Laser Interstitial Thermal Therapy (LITT) is a minimally-invasive treatment option for people with brain tumours.

Who Is A Candidate For Laser Interstitial Thermal Therapy (LITT)?

LITT is considered a safer alternative to surgery and is associated with decreased morbidity. It may be recommended: 

  • To treat primary brain tumours like high-grade gliomas and metastatic brain tumours
  • In patients when the tumour is inaccessible by surgery
  • When the individual is not fit for surgery
  • In individuals where the standard treatment options have failed in individuals who have undergone craniotomy or radiation therapy in the past

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Laser Interstitial Thermal Therapy (LITT) Procedure

If your doctor recommends LITT as part of your brain tumour treatment plan, you will be informed about the procedure and its possible side effects in advance. The procedure is performed under local anaesthesia, during which:

  • The neurosurgeon drills a small hole at the back of the head in the skull
  • With MRI guidance, the surgeon steers a laser wire towards the tumour. 
  • Once the wire is at the exact location, laser-generated heat is applied to the region
  • The wire is then removed, and the incision is stitched up.

 

After the LITT procedure, you will be asked to wait for the anaesthesia to wear off. Since the surgery was minimally-invasive, you can return to normal activities in a shorter time than you would with a craniotomy procedure.

Benefits of Using Laser Interstitial Thermal Therapy (LITT) In Cancer Treatment

Though lasers have been used in cancer treatments, LITT is increasingly finding its use in treating brain cancers. Some advantages of using LITT in cancer treatment are:

  • Allows precise treatment of tumours
  • Highly effective 
  • Minimally-invasive
  • Faster recovery compared to surgery
  • Lesser pain and complications
  • Higher anticipated rate of survival than patients who underwent craniotomy

 

If you have queries regarding the benefits of LITT for your brain tumour, discuss them with your doctor. Since this is a new treatment, it may be a good idea to seek a second opinion from a specialist.

Side Effects of Laser Interstitial Thermal Therapy (LITT)

Since LITT is barely invasive, it is associated with a lower incidence of complications than surgery. However, just as with any treatment, some side effects reported in patients treated for brain tumours using LITT are:

  • Injury to the arteries resulting in haemorrhage
  • Refractory brain oedema when the lesion is large (>3 cm in diameter)
  • Thermal injury to nearby vital structures
  • Treatment failure due to catheter malposition

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A brain tumour diagnosis can be worrisome and scary. If you have questions about LITT for your brain tumour, seek a second opinion. Contact Klarity Oncology for priority second opinion appointments and face-to-face consultations.

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