'Knifeless' cancer surgery gives patients promising results

October 29, 2021
Varian Edge machine with couch

Treating tumors with targeted radiation, “knifeless” surgery has fewer side effects and alleviates many of the challenges cancer patients face. Even better, this state-of-the-art technology is available close to home.

Stereotactic radiosurgery technology, called the Edge™ gives patients a noninvasive treatment option, which minimizes downtime and damage to tissue surrounding the tumor. The radiosurgery suite at Riverside Regional Medical Center is one of fewer than 100 in the United States and the only one in Virginia to offer this breakthrough treatment.

“The real beauty of this is that we are using very small beams of radiation so it’s extremely precise,” explained Ronald Kersh, M.D., a radiation oncologist at Riverside. “For example, if I’m treating an adrenal gland, the kidney is not going to receive any dose. After analyzing more than 1,500 cases, we’ve had an incredible lack of side effects.”

Riverside works in partnership with Chesapeake Regional Medical Center and the University of Virginia Health System to operate the advanced, dedicated radiosurgery center.

What is the Edge? 

The Edge created by Varian Medical Systems uses new real-time tumor tracking technology that accounts for a patient’s movement, even breathing, to deliver a safe and effective dose. With its submillimeter accuracy, the machine can treat tumors in the brain, spine, head and neck, abdomen, adrenal gland, lung, liver and pancreas. In the past, these were difficult to reach and the radiation posed a risk to healthy tissue nearby.

Dr. Kersh says they’ve treated more than 1,200 cases of lung cancer with a 90 percent cure rate.

“We’ve been able to turn this into more of a chronic condition, quite often,” Kersh said. 

More Benefits of the Edge

Previously patients would undergo a CT scan separately to identify the location of the tumor. The Edge offers an integrated CT that lines up with the machine to target the radiation beams. 
Other benefits include: 

  • Faster treatment: The Edge treatments take about half the time compared with other systems.
  • Increased comfort: The treatment ‘couch’ provides the accuracy, precision and flexibility for treatment, with more comfort for patients allowing them to breathe freely during treatment.

For more information on the Edge or stereotactic radiosurgery, call the Chesapeake Regional, Riverside and University of Virginia Radiosurgery Center at 757-534-5220. 

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