New Surgical Technology

With the zap of a beam, 5-year-old Whitney Boyce became one of a handful of patients in Colorado to be treated with a state-of-the-art surgical device combining precision positioning technology and radiation therapy.

Doctors used the Novalis Shaped Beam Surgery device to focus a high concentration of radiation on a birth defect in a small portion of Whitney's brain that was depriving other parts of her body of blood.

It could be two years before doctors know if the procedure worked. Doctors say the cutting-edge technology gave them the best tool available to treat Whitney's ailment as well as a host of others, including brain tumors.

The device is slightly larger than a refrigerator with a giant arm. It uses beams of photon energy aimed from several directions to target tumors or other growths that can be stopped with radiation.