Frameless stereotactic radiosurgery uses highly focused, precise x-ray beams to administer a large dose of radiation in a single treatment. Three-dimensional imaging capabilities allow precise and accurate targeting, so brain tumors can be targeted without the use of an invasive head frame. Frameless stereotactic radiosurgery is used to treat small tumors in the brain and spinal cord as well as certain blood vessel abnormalities such as arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) and dural arteriovenous fistulas (DAVFs). Because the procedure is highly focused, it limits radiation to surrounding healthy tissue.
Another procedure, stereotactic radiotherapy, uses the same principles as stereotactic radiosurgery but generally involves the delivery of small doses to tumor tissue over a few days.
The Department of Neurosurgery at Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) offers innovative, multidisciplinary stereotactic radiosurgery and stereotactic radiotherapy as noninvasive options for many patients. Stereotactic radiosurgery may be an option as brain cancer treatment for some patients, including:
Stereotactic radiosurgery is also used to vascular conditions such as AVMs and DAVFs.
Our BWH Boston neurosurgeons work together with radiation oncologists and physicists to provide each patient with the most appropriate, effective and safe treatment available, including radiosurgery or radiotherapy.
The Center for Neuro-Oncology at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women's Cancer Center is one of few Centers in New England to offer image-guided stereotactic treatment for primary and metastatic spinal tumors. In this setting, stereotactic radiosurgery is delivered in one 45-minute daily session while stereotactic radiotherapy is given in 5 to 7 daily sessions. In this innovative image-guided technique, high-resolution x-ray images are used to deliver accurate doses. In addition, robotic-assisted patient positioning properly positions the patient's body for enhanced accuracy. These innovations make stereotactic radiotherapy and radiosurgery more precise than conventional radiation methods, allowing reduced radiation dose and lowering the risk of radiation-related injury to normal structures.
Neurosurgery research at the Boston campus
Research efforts at the Department of Neurosurgery at BWH are focused on neuroscience and tumor biology aimed at significantly improving neurosurgical treatments for patients. The BWH program has a robust research agenda supported by nearly $10 million in annual funds.