What is stereotactic radiosurgery?
Stereotactic radiosurgery is a type of radiation therapy that uses narrow beams of radiation coming from different angles to very precisely deliver radiation to a brain tumor while sparing the surrounding normal tissue. Also called stereotactic radiotherapy, stereotactic radiosurgery delivers a higher, more targeted dose of radiation than external beam radiation therapy.
A special device keeps the patient’s head still so that the radiation is accurately aimed at the tumor. Treatment time averages one to two hours. Stereotactic radiosurgery is painless.
Uses of stereotactic radiosurgery in brain tumors:
Stereotactic radiosurgery is often used to treat these brain tumors:
- Acoustic neuroma
- Metastatic brain tumors
- Pituitary tumors
- Some types of skull base tumors
Stereotactic radiosurgery can also be used to treat patients who are not surgical candidates because of the location of the tumor or other medical issues.
Types of stereotactic radiosurgery for brain tumors:
Stereotactic radiosurgery can be delivered in one or many doses through a variety of techniques, including the use of fractionated radiosurgery.
Fractionated radiosurgery delivers the radiation in multiple (or fractionated) doses over time, instead of in one large dose. Normal brain tissue and nerves in the head can tolerate many smaller doses of radiation better than one large dose. Thus, fractionated radiosurgery can safely deliver a higher dose of radiation than single dose radiosurgery.
For more information, contact the Johns Hopkins Comprehensive Brain Tumor Center at 410-955-6406.