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Stereotactic Radiosurgery: Precision Medicine Without Incision

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While conventional radiation techniques can be an effective treatment for some types of tumors, such as those that have spread diffusely, stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) provides a non-invasive alternative that delivers precise radiation to highly localized areas, such as small brain metastases, sparing healthy tissue while minimizing side effects and improving patient quality of life.

Benefits of Stereotactic Radiosurgery

  • Safe delivery of the prescribed radiation dose to a tumor in 1-5 sessions with no incision
  • Spare healthy surrounding tissue from any significant dose of radiation exposure
  • Avoids surgical risk of infection, hemorrhage, and anesthesia
  • Minimal interruption of other therapies (such as chemotherapy)
  • Exceptional tumor control
  • Shorter recovery, fewer side effects, and higher quality of life
  • Lower risk of complications for tumors located near sensitive brain/spinal cord tissue

How Stereotactic Radiosurgery Is Performed

Stereotactic radiosurgery is a carefully shaped radiation beam used to destroy cancerous cells with great precision; using advanced technologies, neurosurgeons and radiation oncologists, working together, can pinpoint the radiation delivery field to within two millimeters of an intended target. Because of its exceptional accuracy, this treatment is often ideal for addressing tumors in hard-to-reach or delicate locations where traditional surgery may not be an option.

During SRS, the patient lies on a table with a head frame attached, which is then secured to an apparatus on the table that delivers precise radiation. Radiation oncologists and neurosurgeons use a sophisticated digital treatment guidance system to carefully shape radiation beams to match a 3D imaging of the tumor, which is created prior to the procedure using CT and MRI scans. Through robotic control of both the radiation source and the treatment table, these precisely focused converging photon beams deliver a concentrated dose of radiation from multiple angles to a single target to destroy the cancer cells while avoiding healthy surrounding tissue with sub-millimeter accuracy.

Who is a Potential Candidate for Stereotactic Radiosurgery?

Stereotactic radiosurgery can be an effective treatment for patients with brain metastases, patients with smaller brain tumors, less than 3.5 cm in diameter, or patients with tumors that are too advanced for neurosurgery or otherwise surgically inaccessible. It may also be an option for patients who can’t tolerate anesthesia.

In addition to brain metastases, SRS can also be effective for patients with benign brain tumors, such as acoustic neuromas or meningiomas, or other types of brain tumors located too close to sensitive structures, such as the spinal cord, brain, nerves, or arteries.

Approaching Stereotactic Radiosurgery from a Multidisciplinary Perspective

Moffitt’s expertise in treating tumors, including those difficult to access, comes from our multidisciplinary approach. 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 multidisciplinary approach is key for better outcomes, as it allows for open collaboration among experts and for the latest study results and advancements to be considered on a case-by-case basis. The multidisciplinary team at Moffitt authored a research article titled "Improving Brain Metastases Outcomes Through Therapeutic Synergy Between Stereotactic Radiosurgery and Targeted Cancer Therapies." The publication was recently featured in Frontiers in Oncology.

The article outlined the advances in targeted therapies to date. It also discussed the findings of studies investigating the synergy of using stereotactic radiosurgery and immunotherapies. These synergies have improved the outcome for patients with non-small cell lung, HER-2 positive, endocrine receptor-positive breast, melanoma, and renal cell carcinoma brain metastases.

Moffitt coordinates care for referral patients in collaboration with their referring providers and works to respond to all online referrals within 24-48 hours. In some cases, Moffitt may be able to provide same-day scheduling services for stereotactic radiosurgery to ensure patients get the treatment they need as soon as possible.

To refer a patient to Moffitt, complete our online form or contact a physician liaison for assistance or support.  As part of our efforts to shorten referral times as much as possible, online referrals are typically responded to within 24 - 48 hours.