Definition of stereotactic radiosurgery
Stereotactic radiosurgery uses numerous precisely focused radiation beams to treat tumors and other problems in the brain and other parts of the body.
Stereotactic radiosurgery focuses many beams of radiation at the tumor, delivering high doses of radiation to the target area with minimal exposure to the healthy tissue that surrounds it. Treatment to the brain and spine is typically completed in a single session. Treatments to other parts of the body may involve multiple sessions.
When doctors use stereotactic radiosurgery to treat tumors in areas of the body other than the brain, it’s sometimes called stereotactic body radiotherapy or stereotactic ablative radiotherapy.
Stereotactic radiosurgery is used to treat:
- Brain cancer, including primary brain cancer and brain metastases
- Brain tumors, including pituitary tumors, meningioma, acoustic neuroma
- Blood vessel abnormalities in the brain, such as arteriovenous malformation and dural arteriovenous fistula
- Chronic pain caused by trigeminal neuralgia
- Liver cancer
- Lung cancer
- Metastatic cancer, including cancers that spread to the brain, thyroid, lung, liver, spine and adrenal glands
- Skull base cancers and tumors
- Spine tumors
- Tumors that recur after radiation therapy
Doctors use two types of technology to deliver stereotactic radiosurgery. A Gamma Knife machine uses gamma rays to treat cancerous and noncancerous brain abnormalities. A linear accelerator (LINAC) machine uses X-rays to treat cancerous and noncancerous abnormalities in the brain and other parts of the body.