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Radiation Oncology

Radiosurgery, Stereotactic Radiotherapy

"The knife that doesn't cut"

Radiosurgery, Stereotactic RadiotherapyLike a baton to a symphony conductor, a paintbrush to an artist, or a pen to a writer, a scalpel to a surgeon is an extension of his or her talent and skills. It is a conduit to an infinite number of promising medical possibilities. And the rewards are even more remarkable than glorious music, a work of art or a bestseller.

A surgeon's masterpiece can help save a life.

But it is only through a combination of the finest scalpels and technology in the hands of the most highly trained and experienced physicians that extraordinary outcomes can be achieved. It takes an instrument with exceptional capabilities and a physician with remarkable talent to precisely and accurately maneuver into and around delicate structures to eliminate disease.

At our Cancer Institute, we have both.

Our renowned neurosurgeons and radiation oncologists are trained and experienced to utilize an innovative knife that attains extraordinary exactness all without making an incision. The XKnife effectively eliminates benign and malignant tumors of the brain, head, neck, throat and upper lung, and treats a variety of neurological disorders. As a major evolution in the practice of stereotactic radiosurgery and radiotherapy, the XKnife utilizes sophisticated computer treatment planning software and a unique radiation delivery system to dispense pinpoint doses of high-energy radiation to tumors without harming surrounding structures.

At Allegheny Health, the collaborative effort among our radiation oncologists, neurosurgeons, physicists, dosimetrists and nurses -- as well as physicians from a variety of other disciplines within the organization -- presents patients with a comprehensive approach to treatment, providing the best chance for the most successful outcomes. We work closely with referring physicians to ensure they are active partners in each stage of their patients' treatment plans.

Superior Precision with Exceptional Results


Stereotactic Radiosurgery

The practice of radiosurgery has evolved tremendously since Professor Lars Leskell of Sweden first conceived the idea in 1951.
Radiosurgery at our Cancer Institute involves a one-day outpatient procedure that delivers a single, focused high dose of radiation to a tumor. The treatment planning begins when our clinical team uses the XKnife system's sophisticated computer software to fuse a computed tomography (CT) scan with a magnetic resonance image (MRI). The incorporation of the two scans provides a three-dimensional anatomical reconstruction of a brain lesion and the surrounding brain anatomy.
The neurosurgeon, radiation oncologist and physicist collaborate to determine radiation doses, target volumes and beam arrangements. A virtual treatment simulation is then performed, which traces the path of each individual radiation beam through the tumor area. The patient's planning and treatment with the XKnife are completed in one day, and the actual dose administration takes approximately 30 minutes.
This precise dosing and targeting system allows us to irradiate not only round and defined tumors but also tumors of irregular shapes and sizes. The procedure has proven to successfully control brain metastases, as well as primary brain tumors, such as meningiomas, and obliterate arteriovenous malformations with minimal or lesser morbidity and mortality. In addition, the procedure is minimally invasive, and the patient generally experiences few side effects.

Fractionated Stereotactic Radiotherapy

Radiotherapy involves delivering lower levels of focused radiation over a series of treatment sessions, minimizing radiation exposure to surrounding normal brain structures. This procedure is an exceptional therapy for cases where the tumor is adjacent to critical structures, such as the brain stem and eyes or optical nerves.
The XKnife helps minimize the risks for potential damage to sensitive structures of the brain during the course of treatment, preserving, for instance, a person's vision, speech or motor abilities.
A non-invasive procedure, radiotherapy utilizes the same sophisticated planning treatment software and linear accelerator technology and is also an outpatient procedure that yields minimal side effects.

XKnife's Clinical Indications

At the Cancer Institute, the departments of neurosurgery and radiation oncology collaborate closely to ensure that patients undergoing either stereotactic radiosurgery or radiotherapy obtain the best possible outcomes. Superior results have been achieved by utilizing the XKnife for the following clinical indications:
  • Arteriovenous malformations (AVMs)

  • Brain metastases

  • Gliomas

  • Acoustic neuromas

  • Cavernous angiomas

  • Intractable seizures

  • Recurrent brain tumors

  • Pituitary adenomas

  • Meningiomas

  • Craniopharyngiomas

  • Low-grade astrocytomas

  • Oligodendrogliomas

  • Certain functional brain disorders

  • Movement and spasticity disorders

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