Stereotactic radiosurgery relies on 3D imaging to locate the tumor and precisely define its size and shape. Doctors use these images to target the area to be treated and plan the treatment, including the number of doses needed. Typically, that number can range from one to five treatments. The high-energy X-rays are delivered through a linear accelerator, which provides the highest level of precision, speed, and patient comfort. Imaging takes place during treatment; your position is adjusted to ensure you are in exactly the correct position throughout the delivery of the radiation.
Maximizing Your Comfort
Staying immobile during the procedure is very important to ensure the precise delivery of the treatment. Hospitals that use the Gamma Knife to perform radiosurgery keep patients immobile by pinning a head frame to the skull. At Duke, we use a different device to perform most stereotactic radiosurgery. Instead of pinning a head frame to your skull, a custom-molded plastic mask is used to immobilize your head, which maximizes your comfort.
Scheduled in Combination with Other Treatments
One of the benefits of stereotactic radiosurgery is that it can be timed in between or during cycles of chemotherapy. This minimizes the delay of other effective treatments that are part of your treatment plan.
Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy
Stereotactic radiosurgery used for body areas outside the brain is called stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT). It can be used to treat spine, lung, and liver tumors.