Stereotactic Radiosurgery is a precise form of therapeutic radiology that uses intense doses of radiation without a surgical incision or opening.
It is called “surgery” because a result similar to an actual surgical procedure is created by the radiation therapy treatment. The beams of radiation are precisely focused to reach the tumor, lesion, or other area being treated with minimal effect on surrounding healthy tissue.
Radiosurgery may be used in situations where the brain lesion cannot be reached by conventional surgical techniques. It may also be used in persons whose condition is such that they might not be able to tolerate a surgical procedure, such as craniotomy, to treat their condition.
Radiosurgery works in the same manner as other types of therapeutic radiology: it distorts or destroys the DNA of tumor cells, causing them to be unable to reproduce and grow. The tumor will shrink in size over time. For blood vessel lesions such as an arteriovenous malformation (AVM), the blood vessels eventually close off after treatment.
Radiosurgery almost always involves a treatment team approach. The treatment team generally includes a radiation oncologist (a physician specializing in radiation treatment for cancer), a neurosurgeon and/or a neuroradiologist, a radiation therapist, and a registered nurse. In addition, a medical physicist and a dosimetrist work together to calculate the precise number of exposures and beam placement necessary to obtain the radiation dose that is prescribed by the radiation oncologist. Your treatment team may include other healthcare professionals in addition to or in place of those listed here.
There are three types of radiosurgery systems. They are:
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