First Experiences with a 2.0-μm Near Infrared Laser System for Neuroendoscopy

Neurosurgical Review 30(3):195-201; discussion 201 · August 2007

Authors: H. C. Ludwig & T. Kruschat & T. Knobloch & H.-O. Teichmann & K. Rostasy & V. Rohde

Abstract Nd:YAG, argon and diode lasers have been used in neurosurgical procedures including neuroendoscopy. However, many neurosurgeons are reluctant to use these lasers because of their inappropriate wavelength and uncontrollable tissue interaction, which has the potential to cause serious complications. Recently, a 2.0-μm near infrared laser with adequate wavelength and minimal tissue penetration became available. This laser was developed for endoscopic neurosurgical procedures. It is the aim of the study to report the initial experiences with this laser in neuroendoscopic procedures. We have performed 43 laserassisted neuroendoscopic procedures [multicompartmental congenital, posthaemorrhagic or postinfectious hydrocephalus (n=17), tumour biopsies (n=6), rescue of fixed and allocated ventricular catheters (n=2), endoscopic third ventriculostomy (ETV, n=17) and aqueductoplasty (n=1)] in 41 patients aged between 3 months and 80 years. The laser beam was delivered through a 365-μm bare silica fibre introduced through the working channel of a rigid endoscope. It was used for the opening of cysts, perforating the third ventricular floor, and for coagulation prior to and after biopsy. The therapeutic goals [creating unhindered cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) flow between cysts, ventricles and cisterns, sufficient tissue samples for histopathological diagnosis and catheter rescue] were achieved in 40 patients by the first and in 2 patients by a second neuroendoscopic operation. In one child, a CSF shunt was later required despite patency of the created stoma proven by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). In another patient ETV was abandoned due to a tiny third ventricle. There was neither mortality nor transient or permanent morbidity. The authors conclude that the use of the 2.0-μm near infrared laser enables safe and effective procedures in neuroendoscopy.