Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust has performed its first procedure using technology that allows clinicians to pinpoint and destroy an area of the brain that causes seizures in people with epilepsy.

The procedure, called Laser Interstitial Thermal Therapy, works by using an MRI-guided laser ablation system. It allows a surgeon to destroy the affected brain tissue accurately and in real-time.

The solution can help epileptic patients live seizure-free. It can be used in cases where clinicians are able to identify the specific area of the brain that is causing the seizures, and if their epilepsy is not already well controlled by medication.

Laser Interstitial Thermal Therapy is a less invasive alternative to open surgery. It requires a very small incision of 3.3mm, in comparison to open surgery, so as a result there is less scarring. It also reduces the length of time patients have to spend in hospital recovering after the treatment.

Currently, only three hospitals in total across the UK – including Alder Hey – are offering the procedure.

Mr Jonathan Ellenbogen, consultant neurosurgeon at Alder Hey, said: “Alder Hey is only one of two paediatric hospitals in the UK to offer this procedure, which will drastically transform the way we treat epilepsy for a lot of children and young people.

“It is a minimally invasive surgical alternative requiring a very small incision (just 3.3mm) compared to open surgery. Other benefits include less scarring and reducing the length of time children and young people have to spend in hospital.”

Back in 2021 Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust became the first paediatric hospital in Europe to be awarded EMRAM Stage 7 from the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS). This validation is a testament to Alder Hey’s commitment to improving patient safety and the use of digital technology to enhance its clinical care.