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What Is Stereotactic Radiosurgery?
Stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) delivers precise doses of radiation to the brain. We can use SRS to treat brain tumors, epilepsy, arteriovenous malformations (abnormal clusters of blood vessels), and other conditions. We don’t make any surgical incisions in this minimally invasive treatment. SRS works by destroying tumor cells, much like other forms of radiation therapy.
Types of Stereotactic Radiosurgery
We use one of two stereotactic radiosurgery techniques, depending on tumor type, size, and location. Options include:
- Radiosurgery with a head frame: This device keeps your head from moving during radiosurgery. Immobilization ensures that the radiation targets the tumor precisely without affecting surrounding healthy tissue. A neurosurgeon attaches the head frame with a few small surgical pins before treatment.
- Frameless stereotactic radiosurgery: Your treatment team creates a custom plastic face mask. This mask drapes over your face and skull and provides the same protection as the head frame. Using frameless techniques allows us to offer the same high-quality treatment without the need for surgery to place the head frame.
Stereotactic radiosurgery also relies on the use of image-guided radiation therapy (IGRT). With IGRT, we take scans of a tumor before radiation treatment. These scans show us the tumor location and size so we can pinpoint exactly where to deliver radiation.
Advanced Radiosurgery Techniques
At Kettering Health, we use either a linear accelerator or a Gamma Knife® during radiosurgery. At each of our cancer care locations, we have a top-of-the-line linear accelerator called the Elekta Versa HD™. This machine uses advanced technology to deliver radiation in less than two minutes.
We are able to offer frameless stereotactic radiosurgery with the Gamma Knife®. This equipment allows us to deliver radiosurgery with up to 0.15-millimeter precision, or the width of two hairs. This is six times more precise than the industry standard.
Our version of the Gamma Knife®, the Icon, uses adaptive technology. If you accidentally move during treatment, the machine pauses treatment and adjusts radiation based on your position. This flexibility lowers your risk of side effects and complications.
Radiotracers Expand Radiosurgery Options
We use a technology called positron emission tomography (PET) molecular imaging (MI) to treat brain tumors more precisely and effectively. With PET MI, we give you an injection of a substance called a radiotracer. When we take an image of your body, the radiotracer shows up in areas of high chemical activity, such as the location of a tumor.
At Kettering Health, we have a machine that allows us to create our own radiotracers. We are the only hospital in southwestern Ohio with this capability. Thanks to this advanced technology, we can target portions of tumors that are often difficult to treat with other techniques.
What Does Stereotactic Radiosurgery Treat?
We use stereotactic radiosurgery to treat both benign (noncancerous) and malignant (cancerous) brain tumors. We may also use SRS to treat arteriovenous malformations (AVMs), which are clusters of tangled blood vessels.
How Often Do I Need SRS?
SRS with a head frame typically requires a single radiosurgery treatment session. With frameless techniques, we may deliver treatment over three to five sessions. Delivering radiation over multiple sessions allows us to deliver higher doses of radiation while still minimizing side effects.