Laser ablation to stop seizures

Life & Health

Epileptic seizures can strike suddenly, causing someone to lose consciousness. For some patients, laser surgery, a tiny zap of heat, is a lifesaver. But how much ablation is just enough?

Scott Geryk is an avid cyclist, but a recent Epileptic seizure knocked him off his bike and onto a busy roadway.

“I had an aura that rapidly changed to a seizure and I crashed the bike and ended up all bloody on the face,” said Scott Geryk.

After that, Scott stayed off his bike and in the house. At first, medications worked.

Scott Geryk said, “He put me on it and poof! The auras, the seizures stopped.”

But the meds stopped working. Brain surgery was an option but it’s invasive with a long recovery. Instead, Scott and his doctor chose laser surgery. During the procedure, Doctor Chengyuan Wu used a tiny catheter to zap lesions thought to cause seizures, and leave healthy tissue intact.

Chengyuan Wu, MD, Jefferson University Neurological Surgery said, “The actual ablation again is only three or four minutes, total.”

Doctor Wu recently co-lead a study designed to pinpoint the precise ablation spot in the brain to significantly reduce seizures. In the o-r, he uses m-r-i guidance to insert the probe.

Doctor Wu said, “Then, it’s just activating the probe creating the ablation. That’s done in the control room of the MRI scanner.”


Doctor Wu and colleagues studied the MRI scans of 234 patients in the study and found when they ablated sections in the central part of the brain, patients had the best outcomes. What has the laser surgery meant for Scott?

Scott Geryk said, “It’s back to what it was before the accident. I can drive, I can bike and do everything that I could do before.”

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