Visualase ® System

What is Visualase?

The Visualase system, which was originally developed by BioTex and now owned and marketed by Medtronic, comprises three components:

  1. a 980nm diode laser that produces the light energy used for the ablation
  2. a laser diffusing fiber optic with cooling catheter to deliver the energy to the desired target, and
  3. a computer workstation, which interfaces with an MRI, to allow real-time visualization and feedback control of the ablation process.

The Visualase® software utilizes MRI-based thermography to display temperature maps and estimates of thermal ablation as the procedure is performed. Together these features allow for production of thermal lesions with a high degree of precision and control.

Development & Commercialization Timeline

Development of the VisualaseĀ® concept began in 1999 with an SBIR grant from the NIH. Subsequently, over $7.2M in NIH and state grant funding and another $9.4M in private investments were secured to support development and early commercialization of the technology. The device received FDA 510(k) clearance in late 2007, and has been employed primarily in neurosurgical procedures, but also other surgical specialties including general surgery and urology. In 2014, the company was acquired by Medtronic for up to $105M, and continues to gain rapid adoption and find numerous applications for minimally invasive surgical procedures.