Radiosurgery destroys a tumor or diseased tissue by bombarding it with targeted beams of radiation. It involves the delivery of a high dose of precisely targeted radiation in one to five treatments. Although it is called surgery, no incision is made. The goal of the therapy is to use high-intensity radiation beams to destroy all of the cells in the target area.
The UC Gardner Neuroscience Institute was the first in the world to offer LEXAR, an integrated system for stereotactic radiosurgery, stereotactic radiotherapy, and intensity-modulated radiotherapy. Subsequently, our radiation oncologists have been utilizing the Novalis® Shaped Beam Surgery™ system. This system is recognized by leaders in the field as the optimal system for targeting brain and spine lesions with the highest precision.
Treatments are a blend of surgical and radiation oncology techniques. Navigation tools of surgery allow specialists to precisely locate the lesion, or tumor. But instead of using a knife, doctors ablate their targets with a machine – a linear accelerator – that delivers X-ray beams.
The experience is reminiscent of getting an X-ray. There is no discomfort and no bleeding. Treatments typically last less than an hour, and patients go home the same day.
Noninvasive plastic mask
Patients with tumors inside the head benefit from one of the most important developments in recent years: the replacement of the invasive head frame previously used for brain radiosurgery with a non-invasive plastic mask. In 2009 John Breneman, MD, and his colleagues at the Precision Radiotherapy Center and UC Brain Tumor Center published their research findings that radiosurgery of metastatic brain tumors could be safely and effectively performed without immobilizing a patient’s head with an invasive head frame.
Until a few years ago, the standard of care for radiosurgery had required the fixation of a rigid, invasive stereotactic head frame to the skull in order to immobilize the patient and provide a frame of reference for targeting the radiosurgery. Bolted to the skull with surgically implanted pins, the head frame was often associated with discomfort, anxiety and increased recovery time. Today, the rigid head frame has been eliminated from all radiosurgery treatments involving brain lesions at the Precision Radiotherapy Center. Patients are routinely immobilized in a fabricated, noninvasive mask that is custom fit to patient’s head.
Why Stereotactic Radiosurgery Doesn’t Hurt
Precision Radiotherapy Center
The Precision Radiotherapy Center in West Chester, Ohio, opened in September 2003 to provide another option for patients with tumors or other neurological disorders. Developed by the Mayfield Clinic and University Radiology Associates, two nationally recognized neuroscience programs affiliated with the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Precision Radiotherapy was the region’s first center to offer high-precision radiotherapy/radiosurgery for tumors and other abnormalities both inside and outside the brain.