Stereotactic Radiation, or "Radiosurgery", refers to the external delivery of radiation to a precisely defined target. Deep-seated inoperable brain tumors, metastatic tumors, and blood vessel malformations have in the past been difficult to treat, given the sensitive nature of brain structures.

However, technologic developments over the past several years have revolutionized the approach to such medical problems. Stereotactic radiosurgery uses sophisticated focusing and localization to deliver highly concentrated radiation, while limiting the dose exposed to normal tissues.

At present its common uses are solely in the cranium, and a radiation-induced lesion can be created with a high degree of accuracy at any point within the brain. This technique is currently not only being used to treat primary brain tumors, metastatic tumors, and vascular malformations, but also to create lesions for functional purposes (for example, to treat facial pain).

The largest potential use of this technology is in the treatment of metastatic tumors. There are approximately 80,000 new cases of metastatic brain cancer each year in the United States. Radiosurgical treatment has been shown to be effective in controlling brain disease, and is much in keeping with a palliative philosophy.

For some patients, radiosurgery can be offered as an alternative to open surgical removal of a brain lesion. For others, it may be the only treatment option available. Benign brain tumors such as meningiomas and schwannomas have also been found to respond well to radiosurgery, with tumor control equivalent to microsurgery.

We are proud to offer this sophisticated technology to our patients.

For more information

Contact Paul Penar, MD, Neurosurgeon, Fletcher Allen/University of Vermont College of Medicine at (802) 847-4590.