The UCLA Department of Radiation Oncology, in conjunction with the Department of Neurosurgery, has been engaged in stereotactic irradiation for nearly 20 years.
Radiosurgery began at UCLA, and in the United States, with the installation of the first Gamma Knife in 1981. In 1990, the Gamma Knife was discarded in favor of a modern linear accelerator. With the installations of the world's first Novalis system for shaped beam surgery in 1997, UCLA continues in its pioneering efforts to provide the highest levels of patient care.
Stereotactic irradiation involves the delivery of a dose of X-ray treatment precisely focused on a target within the brain. The use of stereotactic methods allows delivery of a high target dose with significantly lower dose to brain tissue in the immediately surrounding the region. The result is an enhanced ability to control intracranial disease coupled with a reduction in the risk of side effects from radiation therapy. At UCLA, this unique form of radiotherapy can be delivered in a single session, termed stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS), or as a series of daily treatments , termed stereotactic radiotherapy (SRT). SRS and SRT are used for a variety of brain tumors.
These tumors can be malignant (gliomas, metastases) or benign (acoustic neurinomas, pituitary adenomas, meningiomas). SRS is also used for certain non-tumor conditions such as vascular malformations and trigeminal neuralgia (View list of other clinical indications). At UCLA, the use of a special beam shaping device permits efficient stereotactic irradiation of irregularly shaped targets.