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NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center - Center for Advanced Digestive Care

Click on a letter of the alphabet below to view a list of procedures:


Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy (also called therapeutic radiology or radiation oncology) uses special kinds of energy waves or particles to fight cancer. Like surgery, radiation therapy is used in several ways depending on the type and location of the cancer. Certain levels of radiation work to destroy cancer cells or prevent cells from growing or reproducing. This treatment may provide a cure for cancer, control the disease, or help relieve its symptoms.

Radiation therapy is given through different methods, depending on the type of cancer, the location of the cancer, and the patient's health. Sometimes, radiation therapy is used in combination with other treatments. The following are some of the different types of radiation therapy with brief explanations of their goals:

External radiation (external beam therapy)

With external radiation (external beam therapy), radiation is administered by a large machine that points the energy waves directly at the tumor. The radiation therapist controls the machine. Since radiation is used to kill cancer cells, special shields may be made to protect the tissue surrounding the treatment area. Radiation treatments are painless and usually last a few minutes.

Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT)

a special type of external radiation, IMRT can precisely vary or modulate the intensity of the radiation beam to match the shape of the tumor. This very accurate method assures that the entire tumor is properly treated and the exposure to normal tissue is minimized. The minimal exposure of normal tissues minimizes unwanted side effects. The treatment is given 5 days a week for 6 to 7 weeks.

Internal radiation (brachytherapy, implant radiation)

With internal radiation a high dose of radiation is given inside the body as close to the cancer as possible sparing healthy tissue. The radiation treatment may be swallowed, injected, or implanted directly into the tumor.

Radiofrequency ablation

Radiofrequency ablation is used to treat small tumors. a special probe equipped with tiny electrodes that heat and kill cancer cells, is inserted through a tiny incision in the skin and guided to the tumor site by an ultrasound or CT scan.

Stereotactic Body Radiotherapy (SBRT)

SBRT is often used to treat cancer that has metastasized to the liver. During SBRT, each patient is gently and comfortably placed in a frame with special measuring devices that allow the treatment team to exactly locate the area to be treated in relation to the frame. Later, the patient is treated using that same frame to guide pencil thin beams of radiation to target the diseased area in continuous arcs. This non-invasive, very precise treatment is given once or twice a week for 3 to 6 weeks.

Radioisotope Gastric-Emptying Scan

During this test, the patient eats food containing a radioisotope, which is a slightly radioactive substance that will show up on a scan. The dosage of radiation from the radioisotope is very small and not harmful, but allows the radiologist to see the food in the stomach and how quickly it leaves the stomach, while the patient lies under a machine.

Radiopharmaceutical Therapy

This treatment takes advantage of the fact that many tumors bind either MIBG or octreotide and concentrate it within the tumor cells. For tumors that can be seen on nuclear scans but are not amenable to surgical removal, one treatment option is to use MIBG or octreotide bound to a radioactive element that emits damaging radiation to the cells that absorb it. This is similar to the technique of using radioactive iodine to treat thyroid cancer.


a resection is the surgical removal of part of an organ. The surgeon will cut above and below the diseased area, removing a section of the diseased tissue and reconnecting the two areas.

Revisional Procedures

NewYork-Prebyterian surgeons are particularly well known for performing revisional procedures to correct failed bariatric surgery. For patients whose weight loss is inadequate following gastric bypass, there are several options.

Surgeons can place adjustable silicone gastric banding around the gastric pouch. When the opening between the stomach and intestines dilates over time after the initial surgery, a sclerosing (blocking) agent can be injected.

Another common revision procedure performed at NewYork-Presbyterian is endolumenal suturing, in which surgeons enter the stomach with an endoscope to stitch the opening more tightly. Bariatric surgeons at NewYork-Presbyterian recently introduced a revision strategy that transforms gastric bypass into laparoscopic duodenal switch, resulting in the loss of nearly 80 percent of excess weight after one year.

Many times, patients need a revisional surgery to convert an older weight-loss procedure to a more modern, effective one such as the Roux-en-Y gastric bypass with a duodenal switch.

Rubber Band Ligation

In this procedure, a rubber band is placed around the base of the hemorrhoid inside the rectum to cut off circulation to the hemorrhoid. The hemorrhoid then gradually shrinks and withers away within a few days.