Intraoperative radiation therapy (IORT) is an intensive radiation treatment that's administered during surgery. IORT is used to treat cancers that are difficult to remove during surgery and there is a concern that microscopic amounts of cancer may remain. IORT allows direct radiation to the target area while sparing normal surrounding tissue.

The type of IORT most commonly used at Mayo Clinic is also called intraoperative electron radiation therapy. IORT is often combined with conventional radiation therapy, which is usually administered before surgery.

IORT allows higher effective doses of radiation to be used compared to conventional radiation therapy. It's not always possible to use very high doses during conventional radiation therapy, since sensitive organs could be nearby. IORT also allows doctors to temporarily move nearby organs or shield them from radiation exposure.

  • Teamwork. A team of Mayo Clinic experts meets to devise the best treatment plan for you. When considering IORT, your treatment may include medical oncologists, radiation oncologists and surgeons, as well as any other specialists as needed.
  • Experience. Mayo Clinic experts have experience using IORT to treat many types of cancer, including soft tissue sarcomas and cancers of the anus, bladder, cervix, colon, kidneys, ovaries, pancreas, prostate, rectum, stomach and uterus. Radiation oncologists at Mayo Clinic consider IORT to be ideal for treating cancers that are likely to recur in the same area after surgery alone. Also, IORT is helpful for cancers located near sensitive organs.
  • Latest technology. Mayo Clinic in Arizona uses a mobile radiation therapy device to deliver IORT in the operating room. This saves time, since patients don't need to be transported to a radiation machine in another part of the hospital.
  • Comprehensive cancer center. Mayo Clinic Cancer Center meets strict standards for a National Cancer Institute comprehensive cancer center, which recognizes scientific excellence and a multispecialty approach focused on cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment.

Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., is ranked among the Best Hospitals for cancer by U.S. News & World Report. Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Fla., and Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Ariz., are ranked high performing for cancer by U.S. News & World Report.

At Mayo Clinic, we assemble a team of specialists who take the time to listen and thoroughly understand your health issues and concerns. We tailor the care you receive to your personal health care needs. You can trust our specialists to collaborate and offer you the best possible outcomes, safety and service.

Mayo Clinic is a not-for-profit medical institution that reinvests all earnings into improving medical practice, research and education. We're constantly involved in innovation and medical research, finding solutions to improve your care and quality of life. Your doctor or someone on your medical team is likely involved in research related to your condition.

Our patients tell us that the quality of their interactions, our attention to detail and the efficiency of their visits mean health care — and trusted answers — like they've never experienced.

Why Choose Mayo Clinic

What Sets Mayo Clinic Apart

Mayo Clinic works with hundreds of insurance companies and is an in-network provider for millions of people. In most cases, Mayo Clinic doesn't require a physician referral. Some insurers require referrals or may have additional requirements for certain medical care. All appointments are prioritized on the basis of medical need.

Mayo Clinic in Arizona emphasizes a collaborative approach to care. IORT treatment involves doctors in medical oncology, radiation oncology and surgery.

For appointments or more information, call the Central Appointment Office at 800-446-2279 (toll-free) 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mountain Standard Time, Monday through Friday or complete an online appointment request form.

Mayo Clinic in Minnesota emphasizes a collaborative approach to care. IORT treatment involves doctors in medical oncology, radiation oncology and surgery.

For appointments or more information, call the Central Appointment Office at 507-538-3270 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Central time, Monday through Friday or complete an online appointment request form.

See information on patient services at the three Mayo Clinic locations, including transportation options and lodging.

Mayo Clinic doctors are studying new ways of using IORT to help more patients. While IORT was initially studied in people with locally advanced disease, studies are now looking at using IORT in people with early-stage cancer. IORT research is done as part of the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center.

Publications

See a list of publications by Mayo Clinic authors on IORT on PubMed, a service of the National Library of Medicine.

Oct. 03, 2011