Stereotactic Radiosurgery (SRS) TreatmentStereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) involves the precise delivery of high-intensity radiation, all at once, to a relatively small area of the body. SRS does not require an incision; instead, 3D-imaging is used to target the radiation to the affected area with minimal disruption to the surrounding healthy tissues.
What Conditions Can Be Treated With SRS?Typically completed in a one-day session, stereotactic radiosurgery may be used to treat certain brain tumors and arteriovenous malformations (AVMs). In general, the use of SRS is limited to the head and neck, which are the only areas of the body that can be sufficiently immobilized to allow for the precise and accurate delivery of high-dose radiation.
How Is SRS Delivered?
Different technologies may be used to deliver radiation to the brain during stereotactic radiosurgery, including:
- A linear accelerator (LINAC) – X-ray beams (photons) are used to treat cancerous and noncancerous brain abnormalities.
- A Gamma Knife machine – Approximately 200 tiny beams of radiation are focused on a brain tumor or AVM with submillimeter accuracy.
- Proton beam therapy – Instead of X-rays, protons are precisely targeted to a brain lesion.
What to Expect With SRS
Stereotactic radiosurgery is usually performed on an outpatient basis. Before the procedure begins, a lightweight stabilizing frame may be attached to the patient’s head. Alternatively, the radiation may be delivered through a soft plastic mask that conforms to the patient’s face. A series of highly detailed images will then be taken of the patient’s brain. The resulting images will be input into a computerized planning system to help the radiosurgery team determine the precise areas to treat, the appropriate doses of radiation and the optimal focus of the radiation beams.
Is SRS Effective?
Unlike traditional surgery, stereotactic radiosurgery does not remove a tumor or an AVM. In the case of a brain tumor, the radiation damages the DNA of the tumor cells, rendering them unable to reproduce or function properly. As a result, the cells will eventually die. In the case of an AVM, the radiation causes the blood vessels to thicken and close off over time.
The neuro-oncology team at Tampa General Hospital utilizes the most advanced techniques and technologies available in the field. In a single location, our patients have access to a comprehensive range of effective therapies, including stereotactic radiosurgery.