MRI-guided laser ablation

Visualase™ is a minimally-invasive surgical option to ablate epileptic foci, brain tumors, and radiation necrosis.

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Visualase™ is an MRI-guided laser ablation system used to perform Laser Interstitial Thermal Therapy (LITT), a minimally invasive surgical alternative to open craniotomy. LITT may benefit patients with brain tumors, radiation necrosis, or medically refractory focal epilepsy.

Visualase™ MRI-guided laser ablation system lets you monitor tissue ablation in real-time. It provides significant advantages to the patient:

  • Smallest laser catheter on the market — 1.65 mm diameter
  • Requires a very small incision and 3.2 mm burr hole
  • Requires minimal sutures, typically a single stitch1,2
  • Most patients have little or no hair removed
  • Less scarring compared to open procedures
  • Most patients are discharged after a shorter stay compared to open procedures — typically one day3-8
  • Requires no ionizing radiation or large skull flap
Female patient entering MRI machine with a provider holding on to the Visualase catheter, which is attached to the patient's head

How it works

The Visualase™ system delivers laser energy through a small catheter into unwanted soft tissue targets in the brain. When laser energy is absorbed by the target tissue, temperature rises, and, over time, creates an irreversibly damaged thermal lesion.

A workflow that works with your hospital

The Visualase™ system supports a workflow that addresses the unique challenges of performing a procedure within the MRI bore.

  • Plan: The surgeon plans the approach using stereotactic planning software, taking into account ablation coverage and catheter placement trajectory.
  • Laser Placement: A small, flexible laser catheter is inserted in the target area. Visualase™ is compatible with many common stereotactic platforms so the surgeon and staff can stick to a workflow that is most familiar to them.
  • Transport to MRI: The patient is transported to the MRI in radiology, or an intraoperative MRI is brought to the patient.
  • MRI-guided laser ablation: A pre-ablation scan is obtained. The surgeon then selects the preferred thermal imaging planes, identifies temperature check points, and starts the ablation. As tissue heats up, the system displays the thermal damage progress.
  • Close: The laser applicator is removed and the small incision is typically closed with just one suture required.1,2 The patient is then moved to recovery and in many cases goes home the next day.3-8

Do more for more patients.

Is Visualase™ therapy right for your patient?

Our team is here to support you with the information you need to make the most informed decisions for your patient’s care.

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Medtronic U.S. Clinician Services can be contacted at 800‑328‑0810

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Reimbursement guide

Download quick guide with 2022 CPT codes and commercial payer coverage info.

Medical education opportunities

Access on-demand procedural videos, webinars, and more at Medtronic Academy.

Physician training

Jethwa PR, Lee JH, Assina R, Keller IA, Danish SF. Treatment of a supratentorial primitive neuroectodermal tumor using magnetic resonance-guided laser-induced thermal therapy. J Neurosurg Pediatr. 2011;8(5):468–475. doi:10.3171/2011.8.PEDS11148.


Torres-Reveron J, Tomasiewicz HC, Shetty A, Amankulor NM, Chiang VL. Stereotactic laser induced thermotherapy (LITT): a novel treatment for brain lesions regrowing after radiosurgery. J Neurooncol. 2013;113(3):495–503. doi:10.1007/s11060-013-1142-2.


Jethwa PR, Barrese JC, Gowda A, Shetty A, Danish SF. Magnetic resonance thermometry-guided laser-induced thermal therapy for intracranial neoplasms: initial experience. Neurosurgery. 2012;71(1 Suppl Operative):133–145. doi:10.1227/NEU.0b013e31826101d4.


Kang JY, Wu C, Tracy J, et al. Laser interstitial thermal therapy for medically intractable mesial temporal lobe epilepsy. Epilepsia. 2016;57(2):325–334. doi:10.1111/ epi.13284.


Lewis EC, Weil AG, Duchowny M, Bhatia S, Ragheb J,Miller I. MR-guided laser interstitial thermal therapy for pediatric drug-resistant lesional epilepsy. Epilepsia. 2015;56(10):1590–1598. doi:10.1111/epi.13106.


Patel P, Patel NV, Danish SF. Intracranial MR-guided laser-induced thermal therapy: single-center experience with the Visualase thermal therapy system. J Neurosurg. 2016;125(4):853–860. doi:10.3171/2015.7.JNS15244.


Wilfong AA, Curry DJ. Hypothalamic hamartomas: optimal approach to clinical evaluation and diagnosis. Epilepsia. 2013;54. Suppl 9:109–114. doi:10.1111/epi.12454.


Willie JT, Laxpati NG, Drane DL, et al. Real-time magnetic resonance-guided stereotactic laser amygdalohippocampotomy for mesial temporal lobe epilepsy. Neurosurgery. 2014;74(6):569–585. doi:10.1227/NEU.0000000000000343.