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Selective laser amygdalohippocampotomy (SLAH) is a minimally invasive surgical treatment for medial temporal lobe epilepsy. Visual field deficits (VFDs) are a significant potential complication. The objective of this study was to determine the relationship between VFDs and potential mechanisms of injury to the optic radiations and lateral geniculate nucleus. We performed a retrospective cross-sectional analysis of 3 patients (5.2%) who developed persistent VFDs after SLAH within our larger series (n = 58), 15 healthy individuals and 10 SLAH patients without visual complications. Diffusion tractography was used to evaluate laser catheter penetration of the optic radiations. Using a complementary approach, we evaluated evidence for focal microstructural tissue damage within the optic radiations and lateral geniculate nucleus. Overablation and potential heat radiation were assessed by quantifying ablation and choroidal fissure CSF volumes as well as energy deposited during SLAH.SLAH treatment parameters did not distinguish VFD patients. Atypically high overlap between the laser catheter and optic radiations was found in 1/3 VFD patients and was accompanied by focal reductions in fractional anisotropy where the catheter entered the lateral occipital white matter. Surprisingly, lateral geniculate tissue diffusivity was abnormal following, but also preceding, SLAH in patients who subsequently developed a VFD (all p = 0.005).In our series, vision-related complications following SLAH, which appear to occur less frequently than following open temporal lobe -surgery, were not directly explained by SLAH treatment parameters. Instead, our data suggest that variations in lateral geniculate structure may influence susceptibility to indirect heat injury from transoccipital SLAH.

Original publication




Journal article


Stereotact Funct Neurosurg

Publication Date





255 - 265


Diffusion tensor imaging, Interstitial ablation, Laser ablation, Laser interstitial thermal therapy, Optic radiations, Temporal lobe epilepsy, Adolescent, Adult, Aged, Amygdala, Cross-Sectional Studies, Epilepsy, Temporal Lobe, Female, Follow-Up Studies, Hippocampus, Humans, Laser Therapy, Male, Middle Aged, Postoperative Complications, Psychosurgery, Retrospective Studies, Risk Factors, Stereotaxic Techniques, Vision Disorders, Visual Fields, Young Adult