Laser Interstitial Thermal Therapy for Cerebral Cavernous Malformations: A Systematic Review of Indications, Safety, and Outcomes

Christian Ogasawara, Gina Watanabe, Kurtis Young, Royce Kwon, Andie Conching, Paolo Palmisciano, Peter Kan, Rafael de Oliveira Sillero

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background: Cerebral cavernous malformations (CCM) in deep eloquent areas present a surgical challenge. Laser interstitial thermal therapy (LITT) may present itself as a safe minimally invasive treatment option. Objective: To systematically review the indications, safety, and outcomes of LITT for CCM. Methods: Electronic databases were searched from inception to October 7, 2021 for articles with CCM and LITT keywords. Studies describing CCMs treated with LITT were included. Results: A total of 32 patients with CCMs in lobar (79%), basal ganglia (12%), and brainstem (9%) locations were treated with LITT. Indications for LITT included drug-resistant seizures (75%), unacceptable surgical risk (22%), recurrent hemorrhage (16%), and early intervention to discontinue antiepileptic drugs (3%). No death or CCM-associated intracranial hemorrhage occurred intraoperatively or postoperatively, and most patients experienced no adverse effects or transient effects that resolved at follow-up (84%). Of those treated for CCM-associated epilepsy, 83% experienced Engel class I seizure freedom and most were class IA (61%). Most patients experienced symptomatic improvement (93%), and a decrease in antiepileptic drugs was reported in more than half of patients (56%), with 28% able to discontinue all antiepilepsy medications after LITT. Conclusions: LITT seems to be a safe treatment for CCMs located in deep eloquent areas and in lesions presenting with medically refractory seizures or recurrent hemorrhages. Randomized studies are needed to further elucidate its efficacy in treating CCM.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)279-287.e1
JournalWorld Neurosurgery
StatePublished - Oct 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Cavernomas
  • Cerebral cavernous malformations
  • Laser interstitial thermal therapy
  • Minimally invasive neurosurgery
  • Stereotactic laser ablation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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