Computer Assisted Planning for Curved Laser Interstitial Thermal Therapy

M. Pinzi*, V. N. Vakharia, B. Y. Hwang, W. S. Anderson, J. S. Duncan, F. Rodriguez Y. Baena

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Laser interstitial thermal therapy (LiTT) isa minimally invasive alternative to conventional open surgery for drug-resistant focal mesial temporal lobe epilepsy (MTLE). Recent studies suggest that higher seizure freedom rates are correlated with maximal ablation of the mesialhippocampal head, whilst sparing of the parahippocampal gyrus (PHG) may reduce neuropsychological sequelae. Current commercially available laser catheters are inserted following manually planned straight-line trajectories, which cannot conform to curved brain structures, such as the hippocampus, without causing collateral damage or requiring multiple insertions. Objectives: The clinical feasibility and potential of curved LiTT trajectories through steerable needles has yet to be investigated. This is the focus of our work. Methods: We propose a GPU-accelerated computer-assisted planning (CAP) algorithm for steerable needle insertions that generates optimized curved 3D trajectories with maximal ablation of the amygdalohippocampal complex and minimal collateral damage to nearby structures, while accounting for a variable ablation diameter ($5-15$ mm). Results: Simulated trajectories and ablations were performed on 5 patients with mesial temporal sclerosis (MTS), which were identified from a prospectively managed database. The algorithm generated obstacle-free paths with significantly greater target area ablation coverage and lower PHG ablation variance compared to straight line trajectories. Conclusions: The presented CAP algorithm returns increased ablation of the amygdalohippocampal complex, with lower patient risk scores compared to straight-line trajectories. Significance: This is the first clinical application of preoperative planning for steerable needle based LiTT. This study suggests that steerableneedles have the potential to improve LiTT procedure efficacy whilst improving the safety and should thus be investigated further.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2957-2964
Number of pages8
JournalIEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Manuscript received September 1, 2020; revised December 22, 2020; accepted January 31, 2021. Date of publication February 3, 2021; date of current version September 20, 2021. This work was supported by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research, and Innovation Action under Grant 688279 (EDEN2020). (Corresponding author: M. Pinzi.) M. Pinzi is with the Mechanical Engineering, Imperial College London, 4615, London, London, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (e-mail:

Publisher Copyright:
© 1964-2012 IEEE.


  • Computer assisted planning
  • epilepsy surgery
  • LiTT
  • neurosurgery
  • steerable needles


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