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Intraoperative Radiotherapy (IORT)

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Radiotherapy part of surgery

This offers the least disruptive treatment method available to patients with early stage breast cancer.
A new form of radiotherapy is becoming available at a few centres around the world, which is applied in a single dose during a lumpectomy.
This can save weeks of conventional external radiotherapy later with possible radiation burn to the skin.
After removal of the lump, the immediately adjacent area is irradiated from inside the cavity, using a ball point X-ray applicator, while the patient is still in the operating theatre.
This means that radiation is delivered at the earliest possible time and directly to the tumour bed, rather than through the skin and intervening tissue.
Intrabeam intraoperative radiotherapy

Intrabeam® Intraoperative radiotherapy

For patients having a lumpectomy the standard procedure is to deliver a course of daily external radiotherapy some weeks after the operation.
This is a precautionary measure, to deal with any remaining tumour tissue in the area around the operation site
The radiotherapy is typically delivered over a period of 4-5 weeks, which is inconvenient and disruptive both for the patient and for supporting relatives.
Also some degree of radiation burn to the skin is common and this can cause considerable distress. 

Single dose

With the Intrabeam photon radiotherapy system some breast cancer patients who are having a lumpectomy can now have single day targeted intraoperative radiotherapy.
Intraoperative radiotherapy (IORT)

Reduced radiation exposure

Radiation intensity drops away sharply from the point of delivery. Just 1cm from the applicator the level drops to only 25% of the original.
Surrounding breast tissue is spared from irradiation.
Intraoperative radiotherapy can reduce the subsequent external radiotherapy by 7-10 days or possibly even avoid it altogether.
The risk of radiation burn to the skin is greatly reduced too.
Breast cancer radiation, intraoperative radiotherapy

Selection for treatment

Intraoperative radiotherapy is not suitable for all breast cancers. Patients can only be assessed for suitability during the lumpectomy operation.
Suitable patients (approx 50%) receive intraoperative radiotherapy as part of their operation. Others proceed to conventional external radiotherapy as usual.

Further information

Intrabeam is made by Carl Zeiss Meditec AG. For more information on visit the Carl Zeiss web site.
MHL (PPM Consult Ltd.) has no commercial relationship with Carl Zeiss Meditec AG.
Intraoperative radiotherapy (IORT)
Radiation therapies   <   Intraoperative radiotherapy
Intraoperative radiotherapy (IORT)
Intraoperative single-dose radiotherapy (IORT) during open surgery for breast cancer and paediatric brain tumours.

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