Stopping seizures with laser therapy – Boston Children’s Hospital


Around four months old, Justin
started having periods of time when he stopped breathing. His lips would turn blue and
he’d kind of get a little gray. When Justin was just
a few months old, he came in with seizures
and what turned out to be a tumor that was right
in this area, which I took out when he was an infant. He’s done very well with that. But in the past year
or so, has started to have a lot of seizures that
have not been responding well to medications. He would be on a
medicine for a while. It would seem to be working. And then he’d start
having seizures again. The neurologist
said that usually after three or four
medicines, when you fail, that’s when they start
talking about other options. And one of them
would be surgery. Dr. Madsen actually gave us two
options when we met with him. The first was a craniotomy,
with Justin awake. And I said, isn’t there
anything else that we can do? I don’t want to open
up his head again. And he said, well,
you know, actually there is something
new that’s being done. And I think it might work. This procedure we’ll do
today, we don’t actually open up and see the brain at
all directly with our eyes. We will pass a probe into
this area from back here, along the axis. Once we get the
coordinates of where we want the tip of
our laser to be, the head frame, with those big
rings and sliders that you see, will be what actually directs
our passage of the laser right into this lesion. We will ablate it
by heating it up. There’s a diode laser that
will heat the tissue up in a very specific place, so
that the cells die in an area that we can prescribe. There’s really two
critically important advances in technology which have
allowed this kind of therapy to be done. One is the ability to use MRI
studies to very precisely plan and direct our treatment. And we have the advantage here
of being actually in an MRI scanner room, which is
also an operating room. The other technology
is the ability to use the MRI signal to detect
temperature in the brain. And this was a very
important discovery that has made it possible
to safely literally turn on a laser inside
the human brain. In this picture, you can see
that there’s three epicenters. One, two, three, which is the
shape that we wanted to go. I’m very happy with this. And I would say he
has an 80% to 90% chance of having his
seizures controlled now. Justin’s recovery was amazing. We were discharged at noon
the day after surgery. And by the time we got
home, Justin already wanted to go down
the road and play and be out and doing things. And I think the hardest
part of the recovery for me was holding
him back a little bit, because he feels fine. Three weeks post surgery
now, and he has not had any seizures
since we’ve been home. I knew we made the right choice.

6 thoughts on “Stopping seizures with laser therapy – Boston Children’s Hospital

  1. Justin buddy, thank you so much for this video. I have one coming up in a month and kind of scared because I never had any surgery s ;-P . If you can, please let me know how you are doing.

    Thanks alot.

  2. good time..is that really helpful??my daughter has the epilepsy I will be glad to receive any feedback so will take next step. ..please help

  3. I'm having this surgery on a brain tumor in a few weeks. I also have epilepsy from the tumor. I'm doing mine at Cincinnati children's though sending prayers for you buddy

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