Intraoperative radiation therapy
During intraoperative radiation therapy (IORT), radiation is directed through the surgical incision onto a specific site. The dose of IORT can be much higher than is possible with standard radiation therapy given from the outside of the body.
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 when 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 with 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.
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Intraoperative radiation therapy (IORT) care at Mayo Clinic
April 16, 2020
- Hoppe RT, et al., eds. Intraoperative radiation therapy. In: Leibel and Phillips Textbook of Radiation Oncology. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2010. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed March 29, 2017.
- Mitin T. Radiation therapy techniques in cancer treatment. https://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed March 29, 2017.
- Haddock MG. Intraoperative radiation therapy for colon and rectal cancers: A clinical review. Radiation Oncology. 2017;12:11.
- Haddock MG (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. April 11, 2017.
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Intraoperative radiation therapy (IORT)