Intraoperative radiation therapy (IORT) is an intensive radiation treatment that's administered during surgery.

IORT allows direct radiation to the target area while sparing normal surrounding tissue. 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.

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.

  • Collaboration. At Mayo Clinic, radiation oncologists, medical oncologists, surgeons and pathologists work as a multidisciplinary team to provide whole-person care for those considering IORT. Other professionals are included 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, lining of the uterus (endometrium), ovaries, pancreas, prostate, rectum and stomach.

    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.

  • State-of-the-art technology. Mayo Clinic's campus in Phoenix, Arizona, uses a mobile radiation therapy device to deliver IORT in the operating room. Mayo Clinic's campus in Rochester, Minnesota, has a dedicated operating room for IORT procedures.
  • Comprehensive cancer center. Mayo Clinic Cancer Center meets strict standards for a National Cancer Institute comprehensive cancer center, which recognizes scientific excellence and a multidisciplinary approach to cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment.

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

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.

At Mayo Clinic, experts in radiation oncology form a multidisciplinary team with specialists in surgery, pathology and hematology/oncology to care for people considering IORT. Other experts are included as needed.

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.

At Mayo Clinic, experts in radiation oncology form a multidisciplinary team with specialists in surgery, pathology and oncology to care for people considering IORT. Other experts are included as needed.

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 and researchers are studying new ways of using IORT to help more people with cancer.

Cancer research is conducted in coordination with the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center. The Mayo Clinic Cancer Center receives funding from the National Cancer Institute and is designated as a comprehensive cancer center — recognition for an institution's scientific excellence and multidisciplinary resources focused on cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment.

Publications

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

April 14, 2015