Stereotactic radiosurgery: Cutting-edge procedures without blades

An advanced cancer treatment system that delivers precise high doses of radiation to formerly inoperable brain and spine tumors is offered by Gundersen Cancer Center and Neuroscience Center.

Stereotactic radiosurgery is an outpatient procedure that requires no incision. It eliminates complications and substantial recovery time associated with open brain surgery. When traditional cancer surgery is not an option due to other illnesses, tumor location, or unacceptable risk to nearby organs, radiosurgery can give new hope for recovery.

Stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) delivers highly focused doses of radiation to a target from one or more angles. It has minimal effects on surrounding tissue and organs. This single-session treatment has such a dramatic effect on the targeted tissue that changes are considered "surgical." When optimum treatment dose is fractionated (subdivided into smaller, cumulative doses to be given over several days), the process is called stereotactic radiotherapy (SRT). By giving the total dose in several installments, radiation side effects are usually lessened since normal cells are given time to heal between treatments.

With three-dimensional computer-aided planning and a high degree of immobilization, SRS/SRT treatments minimize the amount of radiation absorbed by healthy tissue. BrainSCAN™ treatment planning software allows the surgeon to identify the tumor from CT or MRI images. All data from these scans is reconstructed in a 3-dimensional representation. The model is used by the neurosurgeon, radiation oncologist and radiation physicist to plan optimum dose distribution.

During treatment, 26 pairs of tiny motorized tungsten “leaves” move independently to mirror the tumor’s contours from every angle. The precisely aimed and shaped energy beam maximizes radiation in the tumor but minimizes exposure to sensitive structures such as the brain stem and spinal cord.
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