What is stereotactic radiosurgery?
Stereotactic radiosurgery refers to a type of non-surgical radiation treatment. During this type of cancer treatment, radiation is delivered in large doses to a small area of the body. It is commonly used for the treatment of brain tumours. Other cancers with early metastatic progression can benefit from this form of treatment as well.
How does it work?
During the treatment, your head will be placed in a special frame designed to keep it still. With the use of brain scans, your oncologist will be able to identify the area in which the radiation is required. The radiation can then be delivered very accurately to the area of the tumour, damaging as little surrounding healthy tissue as possible.
There are a number of ways in which stereotactic radiosurgery may be administered. These include:
This specially designed tool delivers small beams of radiation to the tumour from different angles. A large dose of radiation is delivered in a very short period, and in most cases, only one treatment session is necessary.
The treatment involves several stages, including the placement of your head in a frame; imaging tests to determine the exact location of the tumour; computerised dose planning, in which the correct dosage is determined; and the delivery of radiation.
The treatment is painless, and you should not feel any discomfort during the session.
This is the most common means by which stereotactic radiosurgery is conducted. A linear accelerator (also known as LINAC) is a device that is controlled by a computer. It works by conforming to the tumour's exact shape and destroying the diseased cells without damaging surrounding tissue. Similar to the Gamma Knife, the treatment involves the placement of your head in a frame; imaging tests to determine the exact location of the tumour; computerised dose planning; and the delivery of radiation. During the treatment, the LINAC device rotates around the body, delivering radiation from various angles.
In most cases, this type of radiation treatment is limited to one session, but your oncologist will advise you should you require a repeat session.