Knowledge

Stereotactic radiosurgery for cancer treatment

Knowledge

Stereotactic radiosurgery for cancer treatment

Stereotactic radiosurgery is not really a surgery at all, says John Giesler, M.D., a radiation oncologist at Piedmont. Rather, it’s the use of radiation therapy to target a small area of the body.

It uses highly focused radiation produced by a linear accelerator to deliver treatment precisely to a tumor in three to five sessions.

“The purpose is to treat the tumor to a high dose [of radiation], but avoid the normal tissues and avoid side effects,” he explains. “With the advances of imaging technology, we are able to use three-dimensional coordinates and diagnostic imaging studies, and correlate them to target [areas] in the patient within 1 to 2 millimeters of accuracy.”

This has resulted in great advances in the treatment of many types of tumors, including:

  • Brain tumors

  • Head and neck tumors

  • Lung tumors

  • Prostate cancer

  • Metastatic bone tumors

  • Liver tumors

“We’re having much greater success at eradicating and controlling tumors because we’re giving these ablative doses of radiation to the tumors,” says Dr. Giesler.

What to expect during stereotactic radiosurgery

The treatment itself is pain-free and fairly straightforward, says Dr. Giesler.

“It’s just like getting a normal X-ray, [but the machine] will be moving in seven to 11 different angles, and you may hear little noises within the machine,” he says. “But the treatment is painless.”

Learn more about radiation therapy.

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