Stereotactic radiosurgery is a non-invasive therapy that uses three-dimensional, computerized imaging to precisely deliver a targeted, highly-concentrated dose of radiation to an affected area of the brain. The technology allows surgeons to reach the deepest recesses of the brain and correct disorders not treatable with conventional surgery.
What Is Stereotactic Radiosurgery?
Stereotactic radiosurgery is similar to other forms of radiation treatment in that it does not excise (remove) the tumor, but alters the DNA of the tumor cells, rending them unable to reproduce. Benign tumors typically shrink within two years; malignant and metastatic tumors may shrink more rapidly, within several months of treatment. In the case of AVMs, this form of radiation treatment causes the blood vessels to thicken and close off, thus reducing the potential for bleeding.
Stereotactic radiosurgery treatment involves the delivery of a single high dose or smaller, multiple doses of radiation to the specific area of the brain in which the tumor/abnormality is located. Using a helmet-like device that keeps the head completely still, a rigid frame of reference called a stereotactic frame thats inserted into the helmet and held in place on the patients head with special pins and three-dimensional, computer-aided imaging software, stereotactic radiosurgery allows high doses of radiation to be delivered to the affected area with minimal exposure to the surrounding healthy tissue
There are three basic forms of stereotactic radiosurgery, cobalt-60 (Gamma Knife), linear accelerator (LINAC) and particle beam (proton) each of which incorporates a different mode of technology. There also are newer forms of the technology that allow for treatment without the use of a stereotactic frame.