Stereotactic radiotherapy (SRT) is a special type of advanced external beam radiation therapy used to deliver a high dose of radiation directly to a tumor. External beam radiation uses photon beams and 3D computerized imaging to precisely target a tumor. SRT treatment is usually given in three to five treatments over one or two weeks.
Stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) is another type of radiation treatment. It is usually performed in a single session. Even though it has “surgery” in the name, it’s not surgery in the traditional sense as no incisions are made. A stereotactic frame is used to ensure pinpoint accuracy to critical areas of the brain.
At the WVU Cancer Institute, we use radiotherapy and radiosurgery to treat brain and central nervous system cancer. Our team of neurosurgeons and radiation oncologists at both the WVU Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute and the WVU Cancer Institute collaborate to deliver this innovative treatment safely to those we treat.
Stereotactic Radiotherapy and Radiosurgery Treatment
SRT and SRS are very precise radiation treatments that expose surrounding tissues to less radiation. They may be an option for you if you are not a candidate for traditional surgery because of your age or other health problems.
We also use SRT or SRS to treat:
- Acoustic neuromas
- Arteriovenous fistulas
- Arteriovenous malformations (AVMs)
- Cancer that spreads to the lungs or liver
- Glioblastoma salvage therapy
- Metastatic tumors of all types
- Neck and spinal cord tumors
- Pituitary gland tumors
- Small lung cancers
- Skull base tumors (including meningiomas)
- Trigeminal neuralgia
Types of Stereotactic Radiotherapy and Radiosurgery
At the WVU Cancer Institute, we use different types of radiotherapy and radiosurgery to treat cancer. These treatments are most beneficial for small, well-defined tumors and deliver the proper amount of radiation in the shortest time.
- Gamma Knife — This treatment uses small beams of high-energy radiation called gamma rays to target small tumors in the head or neck. This type of precision therapy reduces radiation exposure to surrounding healthy tissue and is typically performed in one session.
- Staged radiosurgery (fractionated stereotactic radiosurgery) — For this treatment, we divide the total dose of radiation into several smaller doses given on different days.
- Stereotactic body radiation therapy — We use this therapy for small tumors outside the brain and spinal cord as well as various cancers, including liver and lung cancer, when surgery is not possible due to the location of the tumor.
Benefits of Stereotactic Radiotherapy and Radiosurgery
Stereotactic radiotherapy treatment makes it possible for neurosurgeons and radiation oncologists to access tumors located deep within the brain, central nervous system, and other organs throughout the body that are not easily treated with conventional surgery.
Because there are no incisions (cuts), radiotherapy is less risky than traditional surgery, and patients experience little discomfort. This radiation treatment approach is usually offered on an outpatient basis — some may require an overnight hospital stay and are monitored by the team.
- National Cancer Institute - Radiation Therapy to Treat Cancer