Radiosurgery is a radiotherapy technique which involves the delivery of a single highly focussed dose of radiotherapy to an intracranial target. It was originally developed in the 1950s by a neurosurgeon Professor Lars Leksell in Sweden in collaboration with a radiotherapist.
The procedure is performed as a day outpatient procedure. A stereotatcic frame is firstly applied to the patient using local anesthesia. A CT or MRI scan are then taken and special software is used to define the intracranial target and plan the therapy. The radiotherapy is then dellivered. Radiation is most commonly delivered using either x rays from a linear accelerator (LINAC) or gamma rays from a cobalt source (GammaKnife). LINAC is the most commonly available technique in Australia and Europe while GammaKnife predominates in the USA.
Radiosurgery may be used to successfully treat brain metastases, brain vascular malformations, some benign intracranial tumours e.g. accoustic neuroma, trigeminal neuralgia and some movement disorders. It represents a minimally invasive therapy alternative to open cranial surgery with hig patient satisfaction.
Radiosurgery is done jointly by a neurosurgeon and radiation oncologist working as a team and a speciality clinic at the Royal Adelaide Hospital occurs weekly.