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Science Saturday Swiss clinic pioneers laser-guided epilepsy surgery

Physicians in an operating theatre

The laser therapy allows for greatly reduced invasive surgical treatments.

(Keystone)

Surgeons at Lausanne University Hospital (CHUV) have successfully treated an epilepsy patient using a high precision thermal (laser) therapy. It allows for greatly reduced invasive surgical treatments for epileptic patients.

The operation – the first of its kind in Europe - was carried out earlier this month, according to statement by the Swiss hospitalexternal link.

This type of laser surgery uses MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) to help target the area of the brain to be operated on. The procedure is able to eliminate a seizure focus with pinpoint accuracy, expert say.

"This procedure is indicated for patients suffering from drug-resistant epilepsy when the seizure focus has been clearly identified,” Philippe Ryvlin, head of the clinical neuroscience department at the CHUV is quoted as saying.

During the procedure, an MRI is done first to precisely map out the area of affected brain. The laser is then applied to this area through a tiny perforated hole in the skull, without the need for open brain surgery.

The method also allows for a shortened period of hospitalisation compared with conventional surgery, according to the statement.

Switzerland and the European Union only recently allowed the use of such a laser-guided procedure.

swissinfo.ch with SDA-ATS; ug

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