Clinically significant visual deficits after laser interstitial thermal therapy for mesiotemporal epilepsy

Walter J. Jermakowicz, Chengyuan Wu, Elliot Neal, Iahn Cajigas, Pierre François D'Haese, David J. Donahue, Ashwini D. Sharan, Fernando L. Vale, Jonathan R. Jagid

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Background: Laser interstitial thermal therapy (LITT) has recently gained popularity as a minimally invasive surgical option for the treatment of mesiotemporal epilepsy (mTLE). Similar to traditional open procedures for epilepsy, the most frequent neurological complications of LITT are visual deficits; however, a critical analysis of these injuries is lacking. Objectives: To evaluate the visual deficits that occur after LITT for mTLE and their etiology. Method: We surveyed five academic epilepsy centers that regularly perform LITT for cases of self-reported postoperative visual deficits. For these patients all pre-, intra- and postoperative MRIs were co-registered with an anatomic atlas derived from 7T MRI data. This was used to estimate thermal injury to early visual pathways and measure imaging variables relevant to the LITT procedure. Using logistic regression, we then compared 14 variables derived from demographics, mesiotemporal anatomy, and the surgical procedure for the patients with visual deficits to a normal cohort comprised of the first 30 patients to undergo this procedure at a single institution. Results: Of 90 patients that underwent LITT for mTLE, 6 (6.7%) reported a postoperative visual deficit. These included 2 homonymous hemianopsias (HHs), 2 quadrantanopsias, and 2 cranial nerve (CN) IV palsies. These deficits localized to the posterior aspect of the ablation, corresponding to the hippocampal body and tail, and tended to have greater laser energy delivered in that region than the normal cohort. The patients with HH had insult localized to the lateral geniculate nucleus, which was -associated with young age and low choroidal fissure CSF volume. Quadrantanopsia, likely from injury to the optic radiation in Meyer's loop, was correlated with a lateral trajectory and excessive energy delivered at the tail end of the ablation. Patients with CN IV injury had extension of contrast to the tentorial edge associated with a mesial laser trajectory. Conclusions: LITT for epilepsy may be complicated by various classes of visual deficit, each with distinct etiology and clinical significance. It is our hope that by better understanding these injuries and their mechanisms we can eventually reduce their occurrence by identifying at-risk patients and trajectories and appropriately tailoring the ablation procedure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)347-355
Number of pages9
JournalStereotactic and Functional Neurosurgery
Issue number5-6
StatePublished - Feb 1 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Brain atlas
  • Epilepsy surgery
  • Lesion
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Stereotactic surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


Dive into the research topics of 'Clinically significant visual deficits after laser interstitial thermal therapy for mesiotemporal epilepsy'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this