Stereotactic radiosurgery is a non-invasive radiation therapy that focuses tiny beams of radiation (x-rays) onto a particular body part in order to make a lesion in a very precise manner. It is used by the Center for Neuromodulation at Mount Sinai to treat the following conditions:
In addition, stereotactic radiosurgery has long been used to treat brain tumors and to close off abnormal connections between blood vessels in the brain, called arteriovenous malformations that can cause neurological symptoms, pain or even stroke or death. This procedure has been investigated for uncontrolled epilepsy and Parkinson’s disease.
How Does Stereotactic Radiosurgery Work?
“The beams of radiations used in stereotactic radiosurgery are very weak,” says Dr. Brian Kopell, co-director of the Center for Neuromodulation. “It’s only where the beams of radiation intersect that the destructive force of radiation is occurring.”
This convergence of radiation beams to ablate or make a lesion in tissue is called constructive interference and it is used when sparing tissue adjacent to the problematic region is of the utmost importance. (Other types of radiation therapy scatter radiation more broadly, thereby having a greater affect on neighboring tissues.)
Minimally Invasive, Same-Day Procedure
Despite its name, stereotactic radiosurgery is not a surgical procedure; it is minimally invasive and proceeded by imaging techniques such as MRI or CT scan to create 3-D images of the area to be radiated that the neurosurgeon and radiation oncologist use to direct the beams.
General anesthesia is not necessary for the procedure. As a result, patients remain awake during the treatment and most can go home the same day as the treatment.
Because this procedure creates permanent lesions, it is usually considered for the treatment of pain only more conservative treatment approaches, such as medications and therapy, have failed.
Center for Neuromodulation
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