Stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) is a non-surgical radiation therapy used to treat abnormalities and tumors of the brain and spine. It can deliver precisely-targeted radiation in fewer high-dose treatments than traditional therapy, which can help preserve healthy tissue. Stereotactic Radiosurgery is usually performed on an outpatient basis. It’s an alternative to invasive surgery, especially for patients who are unable to undergo surgery and for abnormalities and tumors that are hard to reach, located close to vital organs, or are subject to movement within the body. Some of the advantages are:
- Superior or comparable outcomes
- No, or mild, side effects
- Return to normal activities within days, sometimes same day
- Shorter medical center stays
- Lower cost
- Hope for otherwise inoperable conditions
Stereotactic radiosurgery can be used to treat critically located intracranial targets such as:
- Primary and metastatic tumors
- Acoustic neuromas
- Arteriovenous Malformations
- Benign cranial nerve tumors
- Pituitary tumors
- Cancers that do not respond to traditional therapy
Patients must be evaluated by a neurosurgeon or radiation oncologist to determine if Stereotactic Radiosurgery treatment is appropriate.
Prior to treatment you will undergo imaging procedures to determine the size, shape, and location of the tumor. The process begins with a standard high-resolution CT scan. For certain tumors, other imaging techniques, such as MRI, angiography, or PET may also be used.
Following the scanning, the image data is then digitally transferred to the treatment planning workstation, where the treating physicians identify the exact size, shape, and location of the tumor. A qualified clinician then uses the software to generate a treatment plan to provide the desired radiation dose to the identified tumor location while avoiding damage to the surrounding healthy tissue. You do not need to be present during this step in the process.
During the procedure, you lie comfortably on the treatment table. Anesthesia is not required, as the procedure is painless and non-invasive. The treatment generally lasts between 30 and 90 minutes and is typically completed in 1 to 3 visits.
Follow-up imaging, generally performed with a combination of CT, MRI and/or PET scanning, is usually performed in the months following treatment to assess the tumor’s response to the delivered radiation.