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Radiosurgery, defined to be treatment using powerful beams of precisely focused radiation, is a crucial tool in the armamentarium against difficult tumors. The Baylor Radiosurgery Center is an outpatient department of Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas. Baylor Neurosurgery Associates has credentialed physicians who utilize the Center which offers a full range of sophisticated radiosurgical options by combining two innovative radiosurgical systems: the Gamma Knife® and the CyberKnife®.

 

Sophisticated Radiosurgery for both Brain and Body

Radiosurgery, defined to be treatment using powerful beams of precisely focused radiation, is a crucial tool in the armamentarium against difficult tumors. The Baylor Radiosurgery Center is an outpatient department of Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas. Baylor Neurosurgery Associates has credentialed physicians who utilize the Center which offers a full range of sophisticated radiosurgical options by combining two innovative radiosurgical systems: the Gamma Knife® and the CyberKnife®.

Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas is the first medical center in Texas and one of the few in the world to combine these technologies within a single dedicated radiosurgical suite. Because the Baylor Radiosurgery Center also houses a dedicated interdisciplinary radiosurgical team, evaluation, and selection of the appropriate radiosurgical procedure proceeds seamlessly and rapidly. The combination of advanced technology with dedicated expertise within a single Center is truly a unique and powerful resource available to Baylor Neurosurgery Associates at Baylor Dallas.

 

The Radiosurgical Edge: Effective and Non-invasive

Stereotactic radiosurgery uses many precisely aimed pencil-like beams of radiation to deliver extraordinarily high doses to the tumor target while sparing normal tissue only millimeters away. Invented in the 1950's and coming of age during the computer revolution, radiosurgery has been a widely accepted treatment for difficult brain lesions for more than three decades. And with the CyberKnife®, this exciting technology is being applied for the first time to extracranial sites such as lung, liver, kidney, prostate, pancreas and breast.

No incisions are made during radiosurgery, and patients usually return to their normal activities the next day. And because most treatments are given on an outpatient basis for one to five days, radiosurgery will not demand a great deal of time.

 

Advantages of Radiosurgery:

  • High success rate for tumors
  • Intracranial or extracranial sites
  • Higher doses than conventional radiation
  • Effective even after conventional radiation fails
  • Can treat several tumors in one session
  • Can be repeated
  • Non-invasive can be used when conventional surgery prohibited
  • No risk of bleeding, infection or anesthesia
  • Usually requires one to five days as outpatient
  • Can be used to treat infants and children

 

Numerous Conditions Treated

Radiosurgery can offer effective treatment of many conditions that are inoperable or untreatable with conventional therapy. Some of these conditions include:

Metastatic Brain Tumors. Rates of local control are high, even with 'radioresistant' tumors such as renal cell carcinoma. The response is often good even after conventional radiotherapy has failed, and multiple sites are easily and safely treated.

Primary Brain Tumors. Radiosurgery can provide local control of primary brain tumors such as high-grade gliomas, medulloblastomas, and ependymomas.

Extracranial Sites. The most exciting new application of radiosurgical technique is to tumors of the lung, liver, kidney, prostate, pancreas, breast and other organs. Physicians on the medical staff at Baylor are participating in national protocols for these new options.

Spinal Tumors. Using the advanced tracking system of the CyberKnife®, metastatic and other lesions around – or even within- the spinal cord can be treated while minimizing dose to the cord itself.

Pediatric Tumors. Because the CyberKnife® does not require a rigid frame, it can be used for infants and young children. The radiosurgical team on the medical staff at Baylor has pioneered this application of radiosurgery to children.

High-risk Patients. Because radiosurgery is non-invasive, it can be offered to patients who are unable to undergo conventional surgery for medical reasons.

Meningiomas and Skull-base Tumors. Radiosurgery can provide long-lasting local control, especially for residual tumors that cannot be safely removed by surgery.

Pituitary Tumors. Radiosurgery can be effective for control of both tumor size and unwanted hormonal secretion.

Acoustic Neuromas. Control rates are high and risk to the facial nerve is low.

Arteriovenous Malformations (AVMs). Radiosurgery can be effective for obliterating small, deep-seated AVMs not amenable to surgical resection.

Trigeminal Neuralgia. Radiosurgery can be effective for relieving the facial pain of trigeminal neuralgia when other methods have failed or when surgery is contraindicated for medical reasons.

The Technology

The Gamma Knife® directs 201 focused beams of radiation at the targeted lesion by means of a large helmet-like collimator. A special stereotactic frame is attached to the patient's head, ensuring near-perfect accuracy. The newest model of Gamma Knife® is at the Baylor Radiosurgery Center and features a motorized, automated positioning system that allows shorter treatment times.


The CyberKnife® provides a completely different way to perform radiosurgery. It consists of a large and powerful robotic system that stereotactically guides a linear accelerator around the patient, delivering one beam at a time. The system automatically uses X-rays of the patient taken during treatment to tell the robotic device how to compensate for patient movement, this allowing the CyberKnife® to literally 'track' the patient. During treatment of extracranial sites, the CyberKnife® tracks motion induced by respiration to produce a singularly precise treatment plan. This remarkable technology is also the secret behind the ability of the CyberKnife® to treat difficult tumors requiring fractionation and tumors of children.

The Team

Baylor Radiosurgery Center, housed in its own wing at Baylor Dallas, is staffed by neurosurgeons, radiation oncologists, physicists, radiation therapists and nurses dedicated to radiosurgery. Members of this team have years of experience in radiosurgery and sit on national protocol development committees. This unique collection of dedicated professional expertise is empowered by the presence in the same suite of two innovative radiosurgical technologies: the Gamma Knife® and the CyberKnife®.

Baylor Radiosurgery Center at Baylor Univeristy Medical Center holds a powerful concentration of resources that further expands the capabilities of Baylor's premier neuroscience and cancer program. Baylor Dallas ranked as one of the top 50 hospitals in the U.S. in both cancer care and neurology/neurosurgery in the U.S. News & World Report Best Hospitals issue in 2007.