Stereotactic Radiosurgery

Stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) is a type of external beam radiation therapy used to treat brain tumors, and specifically brain metastases, which occur when cancer cells spread to the brain from their original location within the body.

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As the region's most comprehensive brain tumor center for adults, we know that offering hope means delivering leading-edge treatments and world-class care. We understand that each brain tumor is unique to each patient, so we bring together an expert team of physicians across subspecialties to review every case and determine the best course of treatment. Our team is committed to helping you and your family along the way.

To schedule an appointment, please call the UC Health Brain Tumor team at 513-418-2282.

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Answers to your Questions about Stereotactic Radiosurgery

Stereotactic radiosurgery is a type of external beam radiation therapy used to treat brain tumors, and specifically brain metastases, which occur when cancer cells spread from another part of the body to the brain. Stereotactic radiosurgery is usually delivered in one to five high-dose treatments, with very high precision minimizing the damage to the healthy brain tissue surrounding the tumor.

Like other forms of radiation therapy, stereotactic radiosurgery utilizes high-energy X-rays to damage the DNA of cancer cells and prevent tumor cell growth and division.

Stereotactic radiosurgery is an entirely noninvasive treatment with no immediate side effects. It is generally well tolerated by patients.

The first step in receiving stereotactic radiosurgery is to conduct a radiation planning scan (also known as a simulation CT), usually one week before starting the treatment. The purpose of this scan is to make sure the patient’s body and brain are in the same position every treatment, so the radiation is delivered accurately. While the patient is lying flat on the CT table, the radiation therapist will make a mask with holes that the patient can breathe and see through, which locks into the treatment table to keep the patient’s head immobilized. For stereotactic radiosurgery, patients may be asked to use a mouth bite to further ensure their head stays immobilized during the high-dose radiation treatment.

Each session may last 20-45 minutes, depending on the patient’s individual treatment plan and needs.

Stereotactic radiosurgery is a noninvasive way to control brain tumors with a high-dose treatment, while sparing normal brain tissue with a high degree of precision.

Stereotactic radiosurgery is used to treat brain metastases, or brain tumors that develop from other types of cancer; benign brain tumors, like meningiomas and vestibular schwannomas; some pituitary tumors; and gliomas that have already received conventional fractionated radiation with three-dimensional conformal radiation therapy (3D-CRT), intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT)  or proton beam therapy.

Ideal candidates for stereotactic radiosurgery include patients with brain metastases around 3-4 centimeters in size, or those with recurrent gliomas that are less than 2-3 centimeters in size.

Will stereotactic radiosurgery hurt?

No, it is a completely painless form of treatment.

Will I be radioactive?

No, the radioactivity does not stay in your body.

What if I am claustrophobic or have trouble with the mask?

There are medications available that our team can provide to help keep you calm and/or better tolerate the mask.

Your radiation oncologist will review your individualized treatment plan and the associated risks before treatment begins. You will have many opportunities to ask questions before, during and after your radiation treatment sessions.

The success rate for stereotactic radiosurgery treatment varies by the diagnosis and the size of the tumor, but we typically see a success rate greater than 80% for each treated brain metastasis, and greater than 90% for small meningiomas and vestibular schwannomas.

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Advanced Expertise

As the region’s adult academic health system, UC Health has radiation oncologists who are super subspecialists in both the treatment of brain tumors and brain tumor research.

Leading-Edge Treatments

UC Health uses some of the most advanced technology on the market to deliver stereotactic radiosurgery as quickly, noninvasively, and accurately as possible.

Research and Clinical Trials

Receiving brain tumor care at an academic health system, like UC Health, provides patients with increased access to some of the latest clinical trials, research advances and subspecialty care options that are not available anywhere else.

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