Radiosurgery – Non-Invasive Brain Surgery in Israel
The Radiosurgery Unit at Sheba Medical Center is a highly advanced subspecialty of the Department of Neurosurgery, and is the leading center for non-invasive brain surgery in Israel. Radiosurgery provides nonsurgical treatment, using state-of-the-art technologies and computer systems to precisely deliver ionizing radiation to intracranial targets. Neither skin nor bones need to be cut to perform radiosurgery, so anesthesia and hospitalization are not generally required.
Sheba opened the first radiosurgery unit in the Middle East in 1992, and we offer this progressive, non-invasive brain surgery in Israel for national and international patients. Multidisciplinary experts collaborate to custom-design the most effective treatments for each patient.
How Does Radiosurgery Work?
Using 3D imaging, radiosurgery administers high doses of radiation to the affected tissues, targeting them precisely to minimize damage to the surrounding healthy tissue. Each individual radiation beam has almost no effect on the tissues it passes through, but at the point where all the beams intersect – a high dose of radiation is delivered.
Radiosurgery (similar to other forms of radiotherapy) works by damaging the cell’s DNA. Consequently, the targeted cells can no longer reproduce, and they shrink instead. Over time, blood vessels that nourish the tumor also close off, depriving the tumor of its blood supply.
Radiosurgery of the brain and spine is usually performed in a single, painless session that takes about half an hour. Following this non-invasive brain surgery in Israel, the patient is released home and can return to normal daily activities immediately.
At Sheba, focused ultrasound (FUS) is another advanced therapy provided by the Radiosurgery Unit. While FUS is FDA-approved, it is still only available at a few facilities in the US.
FUS, a non-invasive treatment for essential tremor, does not require electrodes or any surgery, thereby eliminating any risk of infection. Focused ultrasound waves travel through the skull and skin to precisely destroy the desired area of the brain. The waves create heat to ablate brain tissue in a very specific area. The targeted delivery of FUS is guided by MRI, a radiation-free imaging technique that enhances patient safety.
There is no age limit for candidacy for FUS therapy; Sheba’s doctors evaluate each case individually. Possible side effects include trouble with walking, altered sensation, or difficulty moving. However, most of these complications are mild and short-term.
How FUS Treatment at Sheba Changed Fereidoon Ghasri’s Life
“I tried to draw and write just before the procedure, and it was shaky and uneven. I then tried again immediately after the treatment, and my family and I were amazed. I could draw and write clearly! I could take a drink of water without spilling it,” shares Feri. “It was beyond exciting – it was the beginning of my new life!”
What Conditions Do We Treat at the Radiosurgery Unit?
- Brain and spinal cord tumors – benign and malignant; radiosurgery may also be used to treat brain metastases (cancers that have spread to the brain)
- Chronic pain/head and spinal cord trauma – several techniques can be used to provide relief from chronic pain, including spinal cord stimulation, ablative spinal procedures, and motor cortex stimulation
- Pituitary tumors – the pituitary gland controls various hormones in the body; radiosurgery can shrink the tumor and decrease the effects on pituitary hormone regulation
- Congenital vascular malformations – hemorrhaging intracranial blood vessels can increase the risk of impaired brain function and even death; over time, radiosurgery can cause the affected blood vessels to seal
- Trigeminal neuralgia – a chronic pain disorder resulting from overstimulation of the trigeminal nerve, which is responsible for transmitting sensory information between the face and the brain
- Tremors and movement disorders – FUS (focused ultrasound) can be used to treat tremors linked to neurological disorders, such as essential tremor and Parkinson’s disease
Why choose Sheba for radiosurgery in Israel?
Sheba’s medical staff comprises highly qualified specialists, such as radiation physicists, oncologists, and neurosurgeons who work together to personalize and optimize each patient’s treatment. To make the most of our doctors’ premier skills, we equip our campus with top-of-the-line and minimally invasive technologies for neurosurgery, including advanced stereotactic instrumentation, new computer technology, microelectrode recording equipment, high-field MRI, and focused ultrasound (FUS).
- To date, Sheba’s Radiosurgery Unit has treated more than 5,000 patients since it was founded in 1992 – making our team one of the most experienced in the region.
- Yearly, we care for about 230 adult and pediatric patients with benign and malignant cranial tumors, as well as patients with vascular malformations of the brain.
- We have performed over 400 stereotactic radiosurgery procedures for Parkinson’s disease and other movement disorders.
Uzi Nissim, MD
Senior Staff Neurosurgeon, Department of Neurosurgery
Dr. Nissim is a highly-trained neurosurgeon, with particular expertise in radiosurgery.