Type of Surgery
Last updated: 02/17/2009
A patient requiring radiosurgery has already been diagnosed with a specific disorder that affects the brain. As preparation for radiosurgery, he or she will undergo neuroimaging studies to determine the precise location of the target area in the brain....
These studies may include CT scans, MRI scans, and others. Imaging of the blood vessels (angiography) or the brain's ventricles (ventriculography) may be done as well. These require the injection of either a harmless radioactive substance or a contrast dye.
Prior to the procedure, the patient will be fitted with a stereotactic frame or rigid mask to immobilize the head. This part of the treatment may be uncomfortable. The patient may receive a simulation scan to establish the precise relationship of the mask or frame to the head to help plan the treatment.
The patient may be given a sedative and an antinausea agent prior to the simulation scan or treatment.
Radiosurgery, also known as stereotactic radiotherapy, is a medical procedure which allows non-invasive treatment of benign and malignant conditions, arteriovenous malformations (AVM's), and some functional disorders by means of directed beams of ionizing radiation. It is a relatively recent technique (1951), which is used to ablate, by means of a precise dosage of radiation, intracranial and extracranial tumors and other lesions that could be otherwise inaccessible or inadequate for open surgery. There are many nervous diseases for which conventional surgical treatment is difficult or has many deleterious consequences for the patient, due to arteries, nerves, and other vital structures being damaged.
Select comparative data from 1999 to 2006 include an 11 percent increase in the number of neurosurgeons with full-time academic appointments and a 6 percent increase in the number of female neurosurgeons.
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