Advanced Radiation Therapy - Stereotactic Radiosurgery and Radiotherapy
Stereotactic radiosurgery and radiotherapy deliver precise finely collimated beams of radiation to intracranial and extra-cranial lesions. This treatment modality can be an alternative to, or used in conjunction with surgery. Both single fraction radiosurgery and multiple-fraction radiotherapy treatments are intended to improve a patient’s quality of life and decrease treatment related complications, by minimizing radiation dose to surrounding normal tissues.
Stereotactic Treat Select Primary Tumors
These techniques are used to directly treat selected primary tumors of the brain and the skull base, such as meningiomas and vestibular schwannomas, many metastatic lesions of the brain, as well as, other conditions such as, arteriovenous malformations (AVM).
How does this therapy work?
During the planning process, a 3D visualization of the lesion(s) is done using MRI and CT technology. After 3D imaging is complete, the treatment area is defined by a neurosurgeon and radiation oncologist. Next, powerful computers are used to arrange precise high-energy radiation beams to create an optimal treatment plan for each patient. A micro-multileaf collimator (MMLC) attached to a linear accelerator shapes the beams to precisely conform to the shape and size of the targeted lesion(s). Thus, ensuring delivery of an extremely precise dose distribution to the target, while sparing critical normal tissues and structures.
Stereotactic radiosurgery consists of a single treatment session. A rigid frame is attached to the head to ensure beam precision. Patients being fitted with a frame receive local anesthesia at stabilization sites. Radiosurgery patients should plan on being at the hospital for an entire day, arriving in the early morning and leaving early evening. The frame is removed prior to the patient’s discharge home.
Stereotactic radiotherapy consists of two or more treatment sessions. A treatment stabilization mask, contoured to the patient’s head and face, is used when multiple treatment sessions are required. This is a non-invasive procedure. Patients do not require any anesthetics for treatment planning or during treatment sessions. Radiotherapy patients are treated with lower fraction doses for shorter time periods per session over several weeks. Each treatment session lasts approximately 30-minutes.
The procedures generally cause only minor discomfort and patients usually experience minimal side effects. Patients typically are treated as outpatients and are required to have an escort home.
Stereotactic Therapy Candidates
Patients receiving stereotactic therapy can be treated for one or more lesions simultaneously. Ideally the lesions should be 5 cm in size or smaller. Each patient’s situation can vary and therefore, referring physician consultation with the radiation oncologist is necessary.
Most patients resume normal daily activities, such as work or school, within two to three days. Patients are usually discharged home within hours after receiving stereotactic radiosurgery or radiotherapy. However, if medically necessary, patients may be required to stay in the hospital over night for observation.
While no procedure is risk free, the risks of this procedure vary with the location and size of the lesion. Follow-up with our team of radiation oncologists and neurosurgeons along with other appropriate physicians, along with appropriate follow-up scans, such as, MRI or CT brain scan, are routine, to ensure close monitoring and quality of care.
For more information
For more information on stereotactic therapies please contact California Pacific’s Radiation Oncology Department at 415-600-3600.
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