New Brain Surgery Technology at Willis-Knighton Targets Tumors

Jan 23, 2017

Jessica Wilden, MD, First in Region to Offer Minimally Invasive Visualase® Procedure

Jessica WildenJessica Wilden, MD, neurosurgeon with Tri-State Neurosurgery, has performed a unique MRI-guided Visualase® laser ablation on a patient diagnosed with a brain tumor. The patient, a 57-year-old man, had a symptomatic tumor in the temporal lobe of the brain, near the brain stem. The location of the tumor made it difficult and dangerous to resect during open brain surgery.

With the Visualase technology in the interventional MRI suite at Willis-Knighton Medical Center, Dr. Wilden accessed and destroyed the tumor using a laser fiber inserted through a small 5 mm incision. The patient was discharged the following day and is doing well. 

Patients who undergo a Visualase procedure generally recover faster than those who have open brain surgery and show few signs of having gone through a surgical procedure. Using the MRI to guide the laser in real time offers a high degree of accuracy and protects the surrounding normal tissue.

Willis-Knighton Health System recently acquired the Visualase technology as a continuing effort to grow the interventional MRI (iMRI) surgery program. The iMRI surgery program was initiated through a partnership between Willis-Knighton Health System and Dr. Jessica Wilden, a specialist in MRI-based surgery, in January 2014. Surgery in the sterile MRI suite under general anesthesia provides enhanced accuracy, safety, and comfort for the patient compared to more traditional techniques in the regular operating room. Willis-Knighton is the only site in Louisiana and in the Ark-La-Tex with a specialized iMRI suite used on a weekly basis to perform highly specialized procedures. 

“Representatives from Medtronic, the company that owns Visualase, indicate that we were the first in this region to use their technology for tumor ablation in an MRI suite,” Dr. Wilden said. “We are excited to offer this minimally invasive procedure to patients because it can greatly improve health and quality of life.” 

Patients who experience seizures and/or who have brain tumors may wish to be evaluated to determine if this cutting-edge surgery is right for them. More information about this procedure is available on the neurosurgery page at or by calling Dr. Wilden’s office, (318) 212-8176.