Your child’s pediatric neurosurgeon might have mentioned pediatric radiosurgery as a treatment option. You are not sure what this surgery is or if it is right for your child. Learn more about pediatric radiosurgery. Discover how it works and what it treats, along with the benefits.
A neurosurgeon is the specialist that performs pediatric radiosurgery. This non-invasive surgery is a type of radiation therapy. The pediatric neurosurgeon trains beams of radiation on abnormalities located in the brain. Even though the neurosurgeon does not make any incisions, this procedure provides the same outcome as traditional surgery.
What it treats
Pediatric radiosurgery treats brain tumors and arteriovenous malformations. When the radiation comes into contact with tumor cells, they destroy the DNA. This prevents tumor cells from growing or reproducing. The brain tumor eventually shrinks.
The radiation used in pediatric radiosurgery reduces the size of arteriovenous malformations. The rays also reduce the amount of blood that moves through the arteriovenous malformation. Patients might have to combine pediatric radiosurgery with another procedure. For example, the neurosurgeon might recommend surgically removing the arteriovenous malformation or an embolization procedure.
Neurosurgeons choose from three types of tools when performing radiosurgery. A linear accelerator treats abnormalities with X-rays. A gamma knife treats abnormalities with gamma rays. Proton beam therapy delivers protons to the affected area. The protons release energy once they come into contact with the abnormality.
Benefits of pediatric radiosurgery
Radiosurgery provides benefits to pediatric patients. Neurosurgeons can control the energy used for radiosurgery. This allows surgeons to direct the energy to the treatment area. The damage to the healthy surrounding tissue is limited with this procedure. Also, because the energy is sent to a targeted area, children are only exposed to a small amount of radiation during the procedure.
The procedure does not involve cutting, reducing the risks associated with surgery. The procedure is painless, and teenagers usually do not require anesthesia. Teenagers can often leave the hospital on the same day. Younger children do require light anesthesia for this procedure. Younger children usually stay at the hospital overnight before going home the next day. This allows the neurosurgeon to monitor the children before sending them home.
The procedure also allows neurosurgeons to treat tumors and arteriovenous malformations that cannot be treated with traditional surgery. For example, radiology can treat abnormalities that are difficult to reach. The procedure also allows surgeons to treat tumors and arteriovenous malformations that are located near vital organs. Radiotherapy can even treat abnormalities that move within the body.
Talk to a pediatric neurosurgeon about radiosurgery
If your child has a tumor or arteriovenous malformation, pediatric radiosurgery might be the right treatment option. The surgeon can use a linear accelerator, gamma knife or proton beam therapy to address the issue. This treatment provides countless benefits for children. Talk to your neurologist to see if this is the right treatment option for your child.
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