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Laser Interstitial Thermal Therapy


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Laser interstitial thermal therapy (LITT) is a new technique to treat brain tumors that can’t be removed through surgery. It may also help patients whose tumors don’t react to radiation therapy. It is commonly used to treat gliomas and brain metastases.

LITT uses laser energy to heat up and destroy tumor cells. It is a minimally invasive procedure with a faster recovery than craniotomy (open brain surgeries). LITT is most effective on smaller tumors.

What to Expect

During LITT, you will be asleep under general anesthesia. The entire procedure may take about three hours. Once you are asleep, your neurosurgeon will make a small incision in your scalp. They will drill a small hole in your skull.

The neurosurgeon will then use imaging to guide a thin tube (catheter) into your tumor. Once the catheter is in the correct place, they will guide the laser through the catheter. The laser will heat up and destroy the tumor cells around the tip of the catheter.

The treatment takes only a few minutes. After it is complete, your neurosurgeon will remove the catheter and use a stitch or two to close the incision. You may be able to go home the same day or the day after your LITT treatment. You should be able to return to normal activities within a few days.


You may qualify for LITT if you have an inoperable brain tumor or your tumor does not respond to radiation therapy. Your Brain Tumor Initiative team will go over your imaging tests, biopsies, and other information to help you decide if LITT is right for you.

Why Choose Us?

Groundbreaking brain tumor treatment. Experts from Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center and UHealth make up one of the largest and most complete teams for brain tumor treatment in the United States. Through multi-disciplinary cooperation, our team employs innovative procedures like awake craniotomies, Gamma Knife® radiosurgery, and many other techniques. We use the least invasive neurosurgical techniques on both adults and children, which reduces recovery time and makes a significant difference in your quality of life.

Dedicated brain tumor experts. Your care team consists of specialized physicians and researchers who are committed to brain tumor care. Your team may include neurosurgeons, neuro-oncologists, radiation oncologists, neuropathologists, and other physicians who focus solely on treating brain tumors. Their years of experience and expertise help you find the right treatment for you.

Innovative research that changes the future of brain tumor care. As the only academic medical center in the area, we are on the cutting edge of brain tumor treatment and research. As a patient at UHealth, you also have access to the innovative research and the latest in clinical trials. Our ongoing translational and clinical research has spawned promising treatments like the heat shock protein vaccine and targeted therapies designed for your specific type of brain tumor.

International leaders in brain tumor care. We play a vital role in the community, thanks to our groundbreaking research and patient care for people in Florida, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. We’re turning Miami into the healthcare capital of the Americas. We’re creating one of the premier brain tumor centers in the country.

Surgical expertise. We perform thousands of brain tumor surgeries every year and care for more brain tumors than any other health center in Florida. Our skilled neurosurgeons are consistently pioneering new treatments. From minimally invasive spine surgeries to awake craniotomies, we offer unique surgeries you cannot find anywhere else in the region.

Concierge service. Patients do not have to figure it all out alone at UHealth. Patients are assigned a concierge coordinator who is there for you and your family while you are in our care. They connect you with other providers you may need, walk you through the surgery process, and can answer any questions you or your family may have.

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