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Initially used to treat the part of the brain associated with brain tumors, stereotactic radiosurgery has gained currency as a treatment for various types of cancer. This type of surgery uses x-ray beams instead of scalpels to eliminate tumors of the liver, lung and spine.
      So, when Cynthia Anderson, MD, prepares her patients for stereotactic radiosurgery she emphasizes three things: the surgery is fast, friendly and focused. "It's fast because the actual radiation treatment itself is very short," says Anderson, a radiation oncologist at the Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University. "It's friendly because it's all done as an outpatient. And it's focused because these targeted radiation beams get the maximum dose of radiation to a tumor and give the most minimal dose of radiation to the critical organs that surround the tumor."
      Stereotactic radiosurgery is really a combination of surgical principals, says Anderson. But because it uses radiation there's no incision, no anesthesia and no trip to the operating room; and hence, no hospitalization.
     Anderson and her colleague, Costas Hadjipanayis, MD, PhD, are now working on launching a neuro-oncology clinic at Emory University Hospital Midtown where stereotactic radio surgery will be used for spinal surgery. The clinic, says Anderson, will embody a collaborative effort between radiation oncology and neurosurgery.
     To hear Anderson's own words about stereotactic radio surgery of the spine, use the player at the top left of this page or subscribe to the podcast.

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