Stereotactic radiosurgery and radiotherapy, what does it mean?

Radiosurgery consists of a sole high dose radiation to the tumour or arteriovenous malformation (AVM). Although the term surgery is used, there is no incision at all . It is an outpatient treatment, which eliminates the complications, hospitalization and recovery time associated with conventional cranial surgery.

Radiosurgery uses beams of light to remove, reduce or restrain the growth of a tumour by destroying tumour cells thereof or interefering with their growth. For AVM, the beams of radiation produce an enlargement of vascular walls, which acheives the obliteration of the abnormal vessels.

Radiosurgery permits more accurate radiation of the brain tumour or a AVM than conventional radiotherapy. This focused treatment is made possible thanks to the use of a minimally-invasive stereotactic frame that keeps the patient perfectly positioned.A localizing device is attached to the stereotactic frame, showing the reference points for the planning the treatment. Then treatment is performed. This procedure reduces radiation to healthy brain tissue and protects nearby organs.

Stereotactic radiotherapy permits the administration of the same amount of radiation (or higher) as conventional radiosurgery, but it is applied in smaller doses in a series of daily treatments (divided dose). The division of the dose favours the repair of the healthy tissue near the lesion, particularly in critical structures such as the optic canal or the brain trunk.

Novalis Shaped Beam Surgery™ is the cutting-edge system for stereotactic radiosurgery and radiotherapy available today. Novalis permits the most accurate adaptation of dynamic configuration of the radiation beam according to the size and shape of the tumour or AVM at any angle. This ensures that the tumour receives the full dose , while at the same time protects healthy brain tissue. The configuration of the radiation beam to the exact geometry of the tumour is the latest method available in performing stereotactic radiosurgery.

The procedure is painless and helps avoid long hospitalization periods or long rehabilitation. The patient remains awake during the entire treatment. Treatment can be given in the morning and normal routine can be resumed in the afternoon.