Radiosurgery is a medical procedure that allows non-invasive treatment of benign and malignant tumors and other brain pathologies, such as trigeminal neuralgia and some cases of epilepsy. The initial application of radiosurgery was in treatment of lesions in the brain, a technique also known as stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS). The compound word stereotactic is made up from Greek words: στερεος, which means solid, and τακτική (hinted τηχνη) which means "ability in disposition," meaning "tactic" as used in military language. In fact radiosurgery is stereotactic only if the distribution of radiation beams is in three dimensions and not in two as in traditional radiotherapy. In addition to cancer, it has also been shown to be beneficial for the treatment of some non-cancerous conditions, including functional disorders such as arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) and trigeminal neuralgia.
Radiosurgery operates by directing highly focused beams of ionizing radiation with high precision. It is a relatively recent technique (starting in 1951 with Gammaknife by Leksell in Stockholm)) which is used to destroy, by means of a precise dosage of radiation, intracranial and extracranial tumors and other lesions that could be otherwise inaccessible or inadequate for open surgery. There are many nervous diseases for which conventional surgical treatment is difficult or inadvisable due to deleterious consequences for the patient, such as damage to nearby arteries, nerves, and other vital structures. The unit of Leksell was a kind of big helmet usable only for the cranium that was firmly fixed to the helmet. In 1982 the use of a linear accelerator of high precision combined with a Leksell's device fastened to the couch sustaining the patient and the precise capability of the couch to rotate around a vertical axis made possible to obtain three-dimensional treatments similar to those obtained with Gammaknife.
Recent innovations in radiosurgery (Cyberknife 1994) include platforms that sense the position of the patient and adjust the radiation to patient position, to avoid the effects of the movements of patient and the breathing motion, in order to keep the necessary precision to also irradiate a very small target. In such manner the method can be applied also to extracranial lesions, extending enormously the treatment possibilities.
An x-ray image intensifier (XRII), is an imaging component which converts x-rays into a visible image.
The term image intensifier refers to a specific component of an x-ray imaging system, which allows low intensity x-rays to be converted to a visible light output. The device contains a low absorbency/scatter input window, typically aluminum, input fluorescent screen, photocathode, electron optics, output fluorescent screen and output window. These parts are all mounted in a high vacuum environment within glass or more recently, metal/ceramic. It allows the viewer to more easily see the structure of the object being imaged than past fluorescent screens. The X-ray II requires lower dose rates due to more efficient conversion of x-ray quanta to visible light. This device was originally introduced in 1948.
Viewing of the output was via mirrors and optical systems until the adaption of television systems in the 1960s. Additionally, the output was able to be captured on systems with a 100mm cut film camera using pulsed outputs from an x-ray tube similar to a normal radiographic exposure; the difference being the II rather than a film screen cassette provided the image for the film to record.
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