gamma knife

Intraoperative Radiation Therapy

Some tumors with high risk of recurrence may be irradiated during surgery. Intraoperative radiation therapy occurs after the tumor has been removed, and is used to reduce the risk of recurrence in particularly concerning areas.

The surgeon will point out regions of the tumor site that are at risk for residual microscopic disease, and the radiation oncologist will deliver a focused, high dose of radiation directly to those areas. This provides multiple advantages, including the ability to shield neighboring healthy tissues, as well as the possibility that a single, high dose of radiation to the tumor site may reduce the number of future radiation treatments. This technique is not used in cranial neurosurgery, but may offer benefit for tumors that are adjacent to the spine.


This content was reviewed by UCSF radiation oncologist David Raleigh MD, PhD.