The History of Stereotactic Radiosurgery

  • Michael Schulder
  • Vaibhav Patil


The history of radiosurgery can be said to begin with the discovery of X-rays by Wilhelm Konrad Roentgen on November 26, 1895. His report, “Uber eine neue art von strahlen” (“On a new kind of ray”), appeared 6 weeks later [1]. By January 1896, X-rays were being used to treat skin cancers. The discovery of radioactivity by Becquerel in 1896, and of radium by the Curies soon after, provided another means for the use of therapeutic ionizing radiation. Neurosurgical applications were not long in following. X-rays were used to treat patients with pituitary tumors as early as 1906, and radium brachytherapy was applied to treat similar conditions at about the same time [2]. Harvey Cushing, the father of American neurosurgery, had extensive experience with both X-ray and brachytherapy treatments, although he remained skeptical of the utility of either [3]. Other neurosurgeons continued to explore the uses of ionizing radiation throughout the first half of the 20th century [4].


Radiat Oncol Biol Phys Arteriovenous Malformation Trigeminal Neuralgia Gamma Knife Stereotactic Radiosurgery 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael Schulder
    • 1
  • Vaibhav Patil
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of NeurosurgeryNew Jersey Medical SchoolNewarkUSA

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