Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Medical Science (MMSc)

First Advisor

Lawrence J. Hirsch, MD


Epilepsy affects 1% of the world population. Seizures are the major disease manifestation and source of morbidity, and almost one third of epilepsy patients have medically refractory disease. The current standard therapy for refractory patients is anterior temporal lobectomy, which frequently achieves seizure freedom, but often at the cost of cognitive deficits. Magnetic resonance imaging-guided laser interstitial thermal therapy is a new approach to epilepsy treatment that shows promise in pilot studies but has not been formally compared to lobectomy. We propose to directly compare the efficacy of these two approaches with respect to improving seizure freedom and cognitive outcomes by conducting a multi-center randomized clinical trial in patients with refractory epilepsy. Our findings will demonstrate whether laser ablation affords superior clinical outcomes to this patient population compared to temporal lobectomy, and may ultimately identify laser interstitial thermal therapy as an improved treatment option for certain patients with refractory epilepsy.