Amanda Gennaro was a toddler when she had her first seizure.\nIt was a \u201cgelastic\u201d seizure. Unlike more common \u201cgrand mal seizures,\u201d which are characterized by muscle convulsions and loss of consciousness, gelastic seizures produce episodes of sudden rage or laughter. And they made it difficult for Gennaro to interact with other children.\nShe was first diagnosed with childhood epilepsy \u2014 a condition doctors said she would someday outgrow.\nBut as Gennaro, now 21, got older, the gelastic seizures continued. She began to experience body tremors, changes in vision, and uncontrollable laughter at inappropriate times. Anti-seizure medication did little to help her debilitating\u00a0condition.\nGennaro\u2019s father, a paramedic, was determined to find the cause of his daughter\u2019s ordeal. The family was referred to a UPMC neurologist, who conducted a high-resolution MRI. During this scan, her care team discovered a Hypothalamic Hamartoma, a rare benign tumor resting on the side of her brain that produces emotions, hormone balances, and other critical bodily processes.\nIn 2016, Gennaro became the first patient in western Pennsylvania treated for Hypothalamic Hamartoma using MRI-guided laser thermal ablation.\nA recent breakthrough procedure, this minimally invasive surgery uses a laser fiber and MRI technology to target the source of a seizure \u2014 in Amanda\u2019s case, the tumor on her hypothalamus. The procedure required only a tiny incision and opening into Gennaro\u2019s skull. She was discharged just one day after the procedure.\n\u201cIt was really nice to find the answer after so many years,\u201d Gennaro said.\nLearn more about Gennaro\u2019s procedure and recovery on UPMC.com. Find more information, visit the UPMC Neurosurgery website.