Radiosurgery, defined to be treatment using powerful beams of precisely focused radiation, is a crucial tool in the armamentarium against difficult tumors.
Stereotactic Radiosurgery uses many precisely aimed pencil-like beams of radiation to deliver extraordinarily high doses to the tumor target while sparing normal tissue only millimeters away. Invented in the 1950's and coming of age during the computer revolution, Radiosurgery has been a widely accepted treatment for difficult brain lesions for more than three decades. This exciting technology is being applied for the first time to extracranial sites such as lung, liver, kidney, prostate, pancreas and breast.No incisions are made during Radiosurgery, and patients usually return to their normal activities the next day. And because most treatments are given on an outpatient basis for one to five days, Radiosurgery will not demand a great deal of time.
Radiosurgery can offer effective treatment of many conditions that are inoperable or untreatable with conventional therapy. Some of these conditions include: Metastatic Brain TumorsRates of local control are high, even with 'radioresistant' tumors such as renal cell carcinoma. Response is often good even after conventional radiotherapy has failed, and multiple sites are easily and safely treated.Primary Brain Tumors Radiosurgery can provide local control of primary brain tumors such as high grade gliomas, medulloblastomas and ependymomas.Extracranial SitesThe most exciting new application of radiosurgical technique is to tumors of the lung, liver, kidney, prostate, pancreas, breast and other organs. Physicians on the medical staff at Baylor are participating in national protocols for these new options.Spinal TumorsUsing the advanced tracking system of Radiosurgery, metastatic and other lesions around – or even within- the spinal cord can be treated while minimizing dose to the cord itself.High-risk PatientsBecause Radiosurgery is non-invasive, it can be offered to patients who are unable to undergo conventional surgery for medical reasons.Meningiomas and Skull-base Tumors Radiosurgery can provide long-lasting local control, especially for residual tumors that cannot be safely removed by surgery.Pituitary Tumors Radiosurgery can be effective for control of both tumor size and unwanted hormonal secretion.Acoustic Neuromas Control rates are high and risk to the facial nerve is low.Arteriovenous Malformations (AVMs) Radiosurgery can be effective for obliterating small, deep-seated AVMs not amenable to surgical resection.Trigeminal Neuralgia
Radiosurgery can be effective for relieving the facial pain of trigeminal neuralgia when other methods have failed or when surgery is contraindicated for medical reasons.