NHS to offer new laser surgery for focal epilepsy

The new treatment is called MR-guided laser interstitial thermal therapy (MRgLITT) and uses a 1.5mm probe with a fibre optic laser which is inserted into the skull to target the area of the brain causing seizures without the need for invasive surgery. 

The procedure is carried out in an MRI scanner to enable the medical team to navigate through the brain and monitor progress.

Patients who have the procedure are able to go home the next day with minimal risk of infection due to the small wound which quickly heals.

The service will initially be available at two specialist service providers in England. The procedure is due to benefit up to 150 patients each year, with surgeries starting in early 2023.

The treatment is for people who have focal epilepsy that has not been controlled with two or more anti-seizure medications at the maximum tolerated doses and whose cases have been investigated at an Epilepsy Surgery Centre. To be eligible they will need to have their suitability assessed by a multi-disciplinary team and have a form of epilepsy that would make open brain surgery highly risky.

If you think you or your child might be eligible for this treatment, please speak to your epilepsy doctor or specialist nurse.

Young Epilepsy welcomes this exciting news about new treatment options, however we are concerned that many children are missing out on current surgical treatments for epilepsy. The latest figures show that only 28% of children and young people who met the criteria to be considered for surgery were actually referred for evaluation during their first year of care. When sucessful, surgery can effectively cure a child's epilepsy and enable freedom from seizures.

Find out more about MRgLITT