Centers of Excellence

Visualase: Laser Innovation

Dr. Ratan BhardwajNeurosurgeon Ratan Bhardwaj, MD, PhD, is pioneering the use of a new, minimally invasive laser technology, Visualase, for use in neurosurgical cases. This innovative laser ablation technology can be used while the patient remains awake and in most cases has shown a reduction in hospital recovery time.

The device is housed at Barrow Neurological Institute at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center and now ready for clinical use.

How it works

laserA small flexible laser probe is inserted through a small incision in the skull. The probe is then guided to the intended target area using MRI images and delivers laser-induced interstitial thermotherapy (LITT) to the target area. The laser fibers are delivered through the probe to heat and destroy the targeted, unwanted tissue.

Special software combined with MRI technology generates temperature maps, enabling the physician to monitor the extent of the tissue being destroyed in real time.

The physician is able to set temperature safety points around critical structures in the brain that, if triggered, will cause the laser to immediately turn off. Once the unwanted tissue is destroyed the probe is removed and the incision is closed, often requiring as little as a single stitch or small bandage.

“This is a very innovative technology that allows us to lesion a very precise region in the brain in a minimally invasive fashion. This will allow us to do certain things in a safer manner and provide an additional quiver in our neurosurgical armamentarium.”

- Ratan Bhardwaj, MD, PhD

Due to the minimally invasive nature of the device, radiation is not required and the procedure is done without a skull flap, the large skull opening needed in traditional craniotomies. The use of the technology does not limit additional or alternative treatments.


Dr. Bhardwaj is accepting cases for review.

Who to Refer:

Children harboring a small lesion located within the brain are amenable to this treatment.

Current indications include:

  • Dysplastic lesions
  • Hypothalamic Hamartomas
  • Temporal lobe epilepsy with hippocampal sclerosis

How to Refer:

To refer a patient, please send all relevant clinical information to the office of Dr. Bhardwaj.

By Phone: (602) 933-0975

Fax a Referral to: (602) 933-0440

Additional Information:

For additional information about Visualase, visit

Share this page: