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Nat Clin Pract Oncol. 2008 Jul;5(7):405-14. doi: 10.1038/ncponc1131. Epub 2008 May 13.

Technology Insight: image-guided robotic radiosurgery--a new approach for noninvasive ablation of spinal lesions.

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  • 1Department of Neurosurgery, IRCCS Neuromed, Pozzilli, Italy.


The need for an effective noninvasive tool to ablate spinal lesions reflects the limitations of traditional surgical and radiotherapeutic approaches. Open surgery is invasive and carries a risk of neurological injury and vertebral column dysfunction. Conventional radiotherapy often has poor clinical efficacy and a risk of neurologic complications. Spinal radiosurgery has been developed to overcome these limitations. This technique consists of precise delivery of high-dose radiation to a spinal target. To spare the delicate and radiation-sensitive spinal cord and to avoid potentially devastating neurological complications, it is essential that the radiation dose decreases rapidly outside of the target. This is accomplished by use of advanced, image-guidance technology, treatment planning software, and robotics. Preliminary data indicate that this approach can achieve high rates of tumor control of spinal and paraspinal lesions and durable reduction of associated vertebral pain without neurological complications. Although spinal radiosurgery is not yet widely practiced, the benefits of this new therapeutic approach are likely to encourage its widespread adoption in coming years.

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