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The transposition of data derived from computed tomography into three-dimensional stereotactic space has been found to be useful for the removal of intracranial tumors by a stereotactically directed CO2 laser. Serial cross sections of a CT-derived tumor volume sliced orthogonal to any surgical trajectory are displayed in the operating room. Tumor slices are interactively vaporized with a stereotactically directed carbon dioxide laser. In this manner, the entire mass detected by CT scanning may be removed within a three-dimensionally controlled environment.