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Brain and Spinal

Functional

Pediatrics

Radiosurgery

Skull-based

Spine

Vascular

 

Radiosurgery Program


Radiosurgery, also known as stereotactic radiotherapy, (SRS) is a procedure which allows non-invasive treatment of benign and malignant conditions, arteriovenous malformations (AVM's), and some functional disorders by means of directed beams of ionizing radiation. Radiosurgery allows for the precise delivery of high dose radiation to a small field with very litte dose delivery to surrounding areas. This radiation then produces ions and free radicals that produce damage to DNA, proteins, and lipids resulting in cell death.

 

Brain Tumors

Over the last few decades the use of radiosurgery in the treatment of brain tumors has grown immensely. Radiosurgery allows for the safe and effective treatment of both benign and malignant tumors regardless of location within the brain. Clinical judgment must be used with this technique and considerations must include lesion type, pathology if available, size, location and age and general health of the patient. General contraindications to radiosurgery include excessively large size of the target lesion or lesions too numerous for practical treatment. Our neurosurgeons work closely with our oncologist and radiation oncologist in creating a comprehenisve plan of care that may include radiosurgery and other treatment modalities.

 

Arteriovenous Malformation

Arteriovenous malformations are abnormal tangles of arteries and veins that are formed during embryonic development. The vessels within an AVM may enlarge over time and may cause signifiant problems by rupturing and bleeding. AVMs are the leading cause of stroke in young people. Patients between 10 and 30 years of age present with AVMs when they may experience severe headaches or seizures or suffer a stroke from a hemorrhage (bleeding) in the brain. In some cases the first rupture may be fatal; however, more than 90 percent of patients survive with appropriate treatment. The goal of treatment is to reduce this risk of fatal or debilitating hemorrhagic stroke. Radiosurgery either alone or in combination with interventional microradiology (embolization) techniques is very attractive in patients with complex deep seated AVMs or in cases where surgical removal carries a high morbidity secondary to features of the AVM or because of the patient's ability to tolerate open surgery.

 

Trigeminal Neuralgia

Trigeminal neuralgia (TN), also known as tic douloureux, is a pain syndrome characterized by intermittent one-sided facial pain. The pain of trigeminal neuralgia typically involves one side of face. The mechanism of pain production is usually secondary to compression of the trigeminal nerve by a blood vessel. Uncommonly, patients may present with multiple sclerosis without any evidence of compression. In some cases, no vascular or other lesion is identified rendering the etiology unknown. Treatment of TN should always begin with a trial of medical management. Carbamazepine (Tegretol) is regarded as the most effective medical treatment. The surgical options for trigeminal neuralgia include peripheral nerve blocks or ablation, gasserian ganglion and retrogasserian ablative (needle) procedures, craniotomy followed by microvascular decompression (MVD), and stereotactic radiosurgery. Radiosurgery is a safe and effective treatment for patients with TN. The lack of mortality and the low risk of facial sensory disturbance, make radiosurgery an excellent option for all patients and is especially useful in patient who wish to avoid open surgical procedures.


Department of Neurosurgery    Phone:   504-988-5565     Email: rmjenkins@tulane.edu