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Surgeons Use New Tools to Treat Inoperable Brain Tumors

Posted on: 09/03/2010

Surgeons Use New Tools to Treat Inoperable Brain Tumors


(ST. LOUIS) Washington University neurosurgeons used a new tool for the treatment of braintumors at Barnes-Jewish Hospital for the first time Sept. 1. The tool, the Monteris AutoLITT system is an MRI-guided high-intensity laser probe that “cooks” cancer cells deep within the brain, while leaving surrounding brain tissue undamaged.

Barnes-Jewish is the third hospital in the U.S. to have the tool.


Ralph G. Dacey Jr., MD, chief of neurosurgery at Washington University School of Medicine, and Eric C. Leuthardt, MD, used the Monteris system in a procedure on a patient with a recurrent brain tumor located deep in the brain.


Previous surgeries coupled with the hard-to-reach location of the tumor made a standard tumor resection surgery impossible, said Dr. Leuthardt, director of the Center for Innovation in Neuroscience and Technology at Washington University.


“This tool gives us a treatment for patients with tumors that were previously deemed inoperable,” said Dr. Leuthardt, MD. “It offers hope to certain patients who had few or no options before.”


In Wednesday’s procedure, the surgeons drilled a small burr hole about the diameter of a pencil through the patient’s skull, and then used MRI scans to guide the thin laser probe through the brain into the tumor.


Once inside the tumor, the laser discharged highly focused energy to “cook” and coagulate cancer cells, killing them. The MRI directed positioning of the laser and monitored in real time the discharge of energy to the tumor so healthy surrounding brain tissue was left undamaged.

The Monteris AutoLITT received FDA approval for neurosurgical use in May 2009.


Kathryn Holleman 
(314) 286-0303


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