When regular surgery isn't an option for treating brain tumors and disorders, stereotactic radiosurgery can sometimes be used. During the procedure, a large dose of radiation can be given to a tumor with the assistance of a customized frame that keeps the patient's head completely still.
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As the only facility in the nation's capital performing stereotactic surgery for movement disorders, and one of the few centers in the United States offering pallidotomy and thalamotomy for advanced cases of Parkinson's disease, the Stereotactic and Radiosurgery Center has earned its reputation as a leader in the use of stereotactic techniques for diagnosis, therapeutic planning and treatment.
Before each stereotactic radiosurgery, the neurosurgeons, radiation oncologists and physicists plot three-dimensional dose distributions on treatment planning computers which have on-line links to magnetic resonance imagers and computed tomographic scanners. These professionals then modify the angle and size of the energy beams, testing multiple variations until the optimal treatment strategy—based on the needs of the individual patient—is reached. With pinpoint accuracy, the team then directs the calibrated energy bursts to the surgical site. This energy comes from a Gamma Knife or a linear accelerator. Stereotactic radiosurgery typically results in a hospital stay of just one day, which means both convenience and cost-savings for the patient. More importantly, this new technology makes untreatable tumors treatable.
Neurosurgeons at the Stereotactic and Radiosurgery Center also perform stereotactic microsurgery for deep-seated brain tumors, which allows them to develop elegant maps of even the most difficult-to-reach regions of the brain. The use of the same stereotactic equipment during surgery facilitates removal of the tumor and preservation of the surrounding healthy tissues.
Both radiosurgical and microsurgical patients benefit from a unique image fusion system that combines images from multiple modalities with superior accuracy and resolution. This pioneering system was designed by the staff of the Stereotactic and Radiosurgery Center.