Stereotactic radiosurgery is a form of radiation therapy that focuses high-powered x-rays on a small area of the body.
With regular radiation therapy treatment, the healthy tissue nearby also receives radiation.
Stereotactic radiosurgery better focuses the radiation on the abnormal area.
Despite its name, radiosurgery is a form of radiation therapy, not a surgical procedure.
Gamma knife; Cyberknife; Stereotactic radiotherapy (SRT); Stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT); Fractionated stereotactic radiotherapy; Cyclotrons; Linear accelerator; Linacs; Proton beam radiosurgery
During treatment, you will lie on a table, which slides into a machine that delivers radiation beams. The machine may rotate around you while it works.
Sometimes, a head frame may be attached to your scalp to keep you very still during therapy. There are many different machines used to perform stereotactic radiosurgery. Some machines require the use of a frame.
At other times, a special plastic mask that is fitted for your face may be used.
An MRI, MR angiography, or CT scan is then done to help plan the procedure. You will wait while your doctor reviews the results and plans your treatment. Sometimes, the scans are scheduled a few days in advance.
During the actual treatment, you will be alone in the room. The nurses and doctors will be able to see you on cameras, and hear you and talk with you on microphones.
The radiation usually takes only about 30 minutes to 1 hour. Some patients may receive more than one treatment session, but usually no more than five sessions.
Stereotactic radiosurgery is often used to slow down the growth of small, deep brain tumors that are hard to remove during surgery. Such therapy may also be used in patients who are unable to have surgery, such as the elderly or those who are very sick. Radiosurgery may also be used after surgery to treat any remaining abnormal tissue.
Stereotactic radiosurgery was once limited to brain tumors, but today it may be used to treat many other diseases and conditions.
Brain and nervous system tumors:
Other cancers for which radiosurgery is either being used or studied include:
Radiosurgery may damage tissue around the area being treated. Brain swelling may occur in people who received treatment to the brain. Swelling usually goes away, but some people may need medicine to control long-term swelling.
Before the treatment, you will have MRI or CT scans. Using these images, a computer creates a 3-D (three dimensional) map of the tumor area. This planning process helps your neurosurgeon and radiation oncologist determine the specific treatment area.
The day before your procedure:
The day of your procedure:
Often, you will be able to go home about an hour after the treatment is finished. You should arrange for someone to drive you home. Most people go back to their regular activities the next day, if there are no complications such as swelling. Some patients are kept in the hospital overnight for monitoring.
The effects of radiosurgery may take weeks or months to be seen. The prognosis depends on the condition being treated. Many times, your health care provider will monitor your progress using imaging tests such as MRI and CT scans.
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