Stereotactic Radiosurgery – An Overview
A stereotactic radiosurgery is one of the more advanced and effective forms of cancer treatments available today. This system uses highly-precise multiple beams of radiation to target the tumor accurately and to avoid damaging the surrounding healthy tissues and organs.
This radiosurgery technique is most useful in treating (or removing) tumors or other similar growths from the neck, brain or any such part of the body using non-invasive radiation method. It has a modern 3-D computer-aided imaging system that allows the neurosurgeon to target the radiation beams from almost any angle to tumors on any part of the body with least impact on the surrounding healthy tissue.
This targeted-radiation therapy works similar to any other radiation treatment method by attacking the DNA of the cancer cells which stops the cancer cells from growing further and it causes the tumor to eventually shrink as the cancer cells being to die naturally.
A stereotactic radiosurgery of the spine or brain is usually completed in a single session. Radiosurgery of the body is used to treat tumors (abnormal growth) in the lung, liver, adrenal gland and other parts of the body that are commonly affected.
In some cases, when the neurosurgeon uses stereotactic radiosurgery to treat tumors located in the body it is called as ‘stereotactic body radiosurgery’ (SRBT) or ‘stereotactic ablative radiotherapy (SABR) as well.
Types of Stereotactic Radiosurgery
There are 3 type of stereotactic radiosurgery methods followed:
Linear Accelerator (LINAC) –
This technique uses x-rays (photons) to target the cancerous cells as well as the non-cancerous abnormalities in the brain or any other part of the body. LINAC systems are also known by various other names according to the brand they may belong to. All these systems are able to complete the treatment usually in one single session, or over multiple sessions if required in case of a larger tumor (fractioned stereotactic radiosurgery).
Gamma Knife –
These are highly-advanced radiosurgery machines that are capable of using around 200 small radiation beams of gamma rays to target the cancer (tumor) as well as non-cancerous abnormal growths in the brain especially. These are somewhat less commonly used as compared to LINAC machines but are mostly used for small to medium sized tumors (or lesions) in the brain caused by various conditions.
Proton Beam –
This is also known as ‘charged particle radiosurgery’ and is the latest form of stereotactic radiosurgery methods. It can effectively and efficiently treat cancers in a single session using high-tech stereotactic radiosurgery methods or even use fractioned stereotactic radiosurgery to treat tumor in the body in several sessions.
Stereotactic Radiosurgery procedure
Any type of stereotactic radiosurgery and radiotherapy works by using a similar principle.
The specialized radiation device is used to focus and aim multiple radiation beams precisely over the tumor. The skin cells are not affected by these small beams of radiation however, at the point of their culmination (target), these multiple small beams come together to deliver a high total dosage of radiation to the target (tumor).
This causes only the tumor cells to shrink and the closing (cauterising) of the blood vessels connecting it causes the cancer cells to eventually die due to lack of sufficient blood supply.
The high rate of precision in this method allows for a relatively safe and painless procedure without any damage to the surrounding healthy tissue or organs.
Need for Stereotactic Radiosurgery
Stereotactic radiosurgery is mostly performed as it is one of the best alternatives to a traditional neurosurgery for treating a tumor (or lesion) in the brain especially.
A stereotactic radiosurgery is used to treat:
- Brain tumors – Stereotactic radiosurgery (especially Gamma Knife surgery) is most often used to treat certain benign (non-cancerous) and malignant (cancerous) forms of brain tumors, including glioma, meningiomas, chordoma, etc. This technique may also be used to treat those cancers that have originated in a different location in the body but have now spread to the brain.
- Arteriovenous Malformations (AVM) – These are abnormal tangles (bundle) of arteries and veins in the brain. This condition causes the blood to flow directly from the artery to the brain and avoid passing through the capillaries (smaller blood vessels). This condition may affect the normal blood flow and may also lead to hemorrhaging (bleeding) or even stroke.
- Trigeminal Neuralgia – This is a chronic pain disorder that affects one, or both, trigeminal nerves, which are responsible for relaying sensory information between the brain and the forehead region, cheeks and the lower jaw. A disorder in these nerves results in severe facial pain similar to an electric shock.
- Pituitary Tumors – These are small (bean-sized) glands that are located at the base of the brain. In case of certain disorders, these pituitary glands can get affected and cause imbalance in the level of certain hormones in the body, such as those responsible for controlling vital functions, stress response, growth, metabolism and sexual functioning.
- Tremors – These are mostly caused as a result of certain neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease and essential tremor and a stereotactic radiosurgery can be very effective in treating these disorders successfully.
Risks associated with Stereotactic Radiosurgery
The risk of complications associated with stereotactic radiosurgery is comparatively less than that associated with a conventional surgical treatment method.
These are a few of the early complications or side-effects that are temporarily seen after a stereotactic radiosurgery treatment in rare cases:
Fatigue – The patient may feel tired or fatigued for a few weeks after a stereotactic radiosurgery but this side-effect wears off within the first 2 weeks.
Swelling – Cranial (brain) swelling at (or near) the treatment site may cause headache, nausea or vomiting. Anti-inflammatory medications (such as corticosteroid injections) are usually prescribed to counter this side-effect of the stereotactic radiosurgery.
Hair/Scalp problems – The scalp may become red and irritated or sensitive at the sites where the device in attached to the head during the radiosurgery procedure.
Connect with Travcure for most advanced and effective Stereotactic Radiosurgery in India
Travcure is connected to the large network of world-class hospitals and clinics in India that offer the most advanced and effective cancer treatments. These are highly-equipped medical and healthcare facilities that are able to manage all forms of cancer treatments effectively and successfully. Travcure offers all its patients with a bespoke treatment package that involves the most advanced and effective stereotactic radiosurgery in India.