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CONTACT: MICHAEL SONDERGARD
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Iowa City IA 52242
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e-mail: michael-sondergard@uiowa.edu

Release: May 12, 2000

Outpatient brain surgery possible with new, world-class technology

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- One of the world's most advanced stereotactic radiosurgery systems will be used by University of Iowa Cancer Center physicians to perform outpatient radiosurgery for patients with brain tumors starting June 2.

"Medtronic's new Precision 2000 stereotactic radiosurgery system is as precise as any non-surgical system available for patient care today," said UI Health Care radiation oncologist John Buatti, M.D. Buatti, a UI professor of radiology who pioneered radiosurgery techniques while at Shands Neurological Center at the University of Florida, said the new stereotactic radiosurgery system has the added advantage of being more flexible.

"The system not only performs radiosurgery but also provides a noninvasive method of treatment for patients with brain tumors such as metastases and meningiomas," Buatti said.

Neurosurgeon Patrick Hitchon, M.D., a UI professor of surgery who co-directs the radiosurgery program with Buatti, said Precision 2000 radiosurgery uses an advanced linear accelerator for a one-time, extremely precise delivery of high-dose radiation to the patient.

"Unlike conventional neurosurgery, stereotactic radiosurgery involves no incision and virtually no acute side effects," he said. "The actual treatment procedure is planned in a 'virtual reality' fashion first and then performed while extreme accuracy is assured. This is an outpatient procedure where people can go back to work in one day."

The Precision 2000 system is an updated version of an old idea. "Stereotactic radiosurgery has evolved over the past decade from a seldom-applied treatment into a recognized subspecialty and intensive multidisciplinary service," Buatti said.

Added Hitchon, "Our highly experienced and dedicated staff is proud to make available the most advanced, most accurate and least invasive technology in the region."

In addition to Buatti and Hitchon, the UI Cancer Center radiosurgery group includes a team of neurosurgeons and radiation physicist Sanford Meeks, Ph.D.

Buatti and Meeks collaborated to treat more than 1,500 patients with stereotactic radiosurgical techniques at the University of Florida, where they were both faculty members for seven years before joining UI Health Care. They have jointly received many awards in the field. Buatti's work on the treatment of central nervous system lesions and radiosurgery has been presented in more than 100 publications, including a textbook on radiosurgical practice.

Hitchon has more than seven years experience in radiosurgical practice and has extensive experience in the treatment of brain tumors with radiation seeds. He has been a part of UI Health Care's internationally recognized neurosurgery team for 19 years.

Questions about the UI Cancer Center's radiosurgery program may be addressed by calling the toll-free UI Health Access phone service at (800) 777-8442.

University of Iowa Health Care describes the partnership between the UI College of Medicine and the UI Hospitals and Clinics and the patient care, medical education and research programs and services they provide.