Stereotactic radiosurgery is a highly precise form of radiation therapy used primarily to treat tumors and other abnormalities of the brain. Despite its name, stereotactic radiosurgery is a non-surgical procedure that delivers a single high-dose of precisely-targeted radiation using highly focused gamma-ray or x-ray beams that converge on the specific area or areas of the brain where the tumor or other abnormality resides, minimizing the amount of radiation to health brain tissue. Although stereotactic radiosurgery is often completed in a one-day session, physicians sometimes recommend multiple treatments, especially for tumors larger than one inch in diameter. The procedure is usually referred to as fractionated stereotactic radiosurgery when two to five treatments are given and as stereotactic radiotherapy when more than five treatments are given.

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Stereotactic radiosurgery is an important alternative to invasive surgery, especially for tumors and blood vessel abnormalities located deep within or close to vital areas of the brain. Radiosurgery is used to treat many types of brain tumors, either benign or malignant and primary or metastatic and single or multiple. Sometimes radiosurgery is performed after surgery to treat any residual tumor cells. Additionally, radiosurgery is used to treat arteriovenous malformations (AVMs), a tangle of expanded blood vessels that disrupts normal blood flow in the brain and sometimes bleeds. AVMs are the leading cause of stroke in young people. Radiosurgery is also a treatment option for other neurological conditions. A similar technique may be used in other parts of the body and is known as Stereotactic Body Radiosurgery (SBRS).

Radiosurgery (one-session treatment) has such a dramatic effect in the target zone that the changes are considered “surgical.” Through the use of three-dimensional computer-aided planning and the high degree of immobilization, the treatment can minimize the amount of radiation that passes through healthy brain tissue. Stereotactic radiosurgery is routinely used to treat brain tumors and lesions. It may be the primary treatment, used when a tumor is inaccessible by surgical means; or as a boost or adjunct to other treatments for a recurring or malignant tumor. In some cases, it may be inappropriate.

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Stereotactic radiosurgery was once limited to brain tumors, but today it may be used to treat other diseases and conditions, including : –

  • Brain metastases
  • Acoustic neuroma and other head and neck (nasopharyngeal) cancers
  • Blood vessel problems such as arteriovenous malformations
  • Pituitary tumors
  • Spinal cord tumors
  • Cancer of the eye (uveal melanoma)
  • Movement disorders
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Neurological problems
  • Some causes of epilepsy
  • Trigeminal neuralgia


How it Works Surgery in india

Stereotactic radiosurgery works the same as all other forms of radiation treatment. It does not remove the tumor or lesion, but it distorts the DNA of the tumor cells. The cells then lose their ability to reproduce and retain fluids. The tumor reduction occurs at the rate of normal growth for the specific tumor cell. In lesions such as AVMs (a tangle of blood vessels in the brain), radiosurgery causes the blood vessels to thicken and close off. The shrinking of a tumor or closing off of a vessel occurs over a period of time. For benign tumors and vessels, this will usually be 18 months to two years. For malignant or metastatic tumors, results may be seen in a few months, because these cells are very fast-growing.

Side Effects

Swelling: As with all radiation treatments, the cells of the irradiated tumors lose their ability to regulate fluids, and edema or swelling may occur. This does not happen in all treatments. If swelling does occur, and it causes symptoms that are unpleasant, then a mild course of steroid medication may be given to reduce the fluid within the tumor cavity.

    • Necrosis : – The tumor tissue that remains after the radiation treatment will typically shrink. On rare occasions this necrotic or dead tissue can cause further problems and may require removal. This occurs in a very small percentage of cases.
  • Other Effects : – Other side effects may occur dependent upon the target site and the dose of radiation received. This should be discussed throughly with your treating physician. For more information on side effects and radiation injury.

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