Stereotactic radiosurgery is a type of highly targeted radiation therapy that may be used to treat certain small brain tumors. Despite what its name suggests, the treatment does not involve surgery. Instead, a Varian Truebeam linear accelerator with BrainLab ExacTrac image guidance system is used to generate narrow beams of high-dose radiation, which are precisely aimed at a cancerous lesion from multiple angles. Unlike traditional radiation therapy, which is usually administered in multiple doses over several weeks, stereotactic radiosurgery is administered in a single dose or just a few doses.
Radiation delivered with unprecedented precision
To prepare for stereotactic radiosurgery, a radiation oncologist and neurosurgeon can define the radiation delivery field within two millimeters of the intended target by utilizing several advanced techniques and technologies, including three-dimensional imaging and localization to locate the lesion and determine its exact size, shape and coordinates. Then, during each treatment session, real-time imaging guidance is continually used to allow for instant adjustments as needed, and a special device is used to carefully hold the patient’s head as still as possible for even greater accuracy.
When is stereotactic radiosurgery used?
Stereotactic radiosurgery is used most often for treating cancer that has spread to the brain (brain metastasis). It also may be considered for treating:
- Acoustic neuroma
- A pituitary tumor
- An intracranial, orbital or skull base tumor
- A metastatic brain tumor
Stereotactic radiosurgery may also be used to address other types of brain tumors (or parts of brain tumors) that cannot be removed safely because they are difficult to access, subject to movement or situated very close to sensitive structures in the brain or spinal cord.
Stereotactic radiosurgery delivered by a collaborative team of experts
At Moffitt Cancer Center, we precisely tailor our brain tumor treatment recommendations to the exact diagnosis of each patient. When a patient’s treatment plan includes stereotactic radiosurgery, his or her treatment is planned, prepared and provided by a collaborative team of radiation oncologists, neurosurgeons, radiation therapists, medical physicists, dosimetrists and supportive care providers. This team has great expertise in treating many different types of benign or malignant tumors, including hard-to-access tumors of the brain and spinal cord. We also offer other advanced forms of radiation therapy, including three-dimensional conformal radiation therapy (3D CRT) and intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT).
Medically reviewed by Dr. Michael Vogelbaum, MD, PhD, Program Leader, Neuro-Oncology Program
If you would like to learn more about stereotactic radiosurgery and other advanced brain tumor treatment options, you can meet with a specialist in the Neuro-Oncology Program at Moffitt Cancer Center. To request an appointment, call 1-888-663-3488 or complete our new patient registration form online. As Florida’s top cancer hospital, we are proudly changing the model, and we will provide you with access to our cancer expertise within one day.