Stereotactic surgery is a minimally invasive form of surgical intervention that makes use of a three-dimensional coordinate system to locate small targets inside the body and to perform on them some action such as ablation, biopsy, lesion, injection, stimulation, implantation, radiosurgery (SRS), etc.
In theory, any organ system inside the body can be subjected to stereotactic surgery. However, difficulties in setting up a reliable frame of reference (such as bone landmarks, which bear a constant spatial relation to soft tissues) mean that its applications have been, traditionally and until recently, limited to brain surgery. Besides the brain, biopsy and surgery of the breast are done routinely to locate, sample (biopsy), and remove tissue. Plain X-ray images (radiographic mammography), computed tomography, and magnetic resonance imaging can be used to guide the procedure.
Stereotactic surgery works on the basis of three main components:
- A stereotactic planning system, including atlas, multimodality image matching tools, coordinates calculator, etc.
- A stereotactic device or apparatus
- A stereotactic localization and placement procedure