Stereotactic radiosurgery is an advanced form of radiation therapy available in the tri-state area. If you and your doctor have not discussed stereotactic radiosurgery as a treatment option, here are three reasons you may wish to bring it up.
- Stereotactic radiosurgery is minimally invasive and requires brief, mild recovery time.
- For years, doctors have used stereotactic radiosurgery to treat conditions of the brain, head and neck.
- Your doctor may not have considered stereotactic radiosurgery as a treatment option if it is not a service his or her practice provides. However, you may still be a candidate for treatment.
What is Stereotactic Radiosurgery?
Though it sounds like a surgical procedure, stereotactic radiosurgery does not involve any scalpels or incisions. Instead, it is an advanced form of radiation therapy that can target a highly focused area, sparing healthy neighboring tissue. There are different types of stereotactic radiosurgery, including Gamma Knife radiosurgery. The Gamma Knife system uses 192 individual beams of low-dose radiation to target an area as precise as 0.15 mm, which is about the width of a single human hair.
Stereotactic radiosurgery takes place in an outpatient setting, which means there is no hospital stay. The number of treatment sessions required will depend on the system used, as well your individual condition. For Gamma Knife radiosurgery, in particular, treatment can last for about 15-75 minutes and many patients can be treated in a single session. Others may require up to five, again depending on the size and location of the area being treated.
Stereotactic radiosurgery can be an excellent treatment option for many patients. If you and your doctor have not discussed stereotactic radiosurgery for treating your condition, here are three reasons you may want to bring it up at your next appointment.
Reason 1: Stereotactic radiosurgery can offer many benefits over other treatments.
One benefit of stereotactic radiosurgery is it can be used as an adjunct following another type of treatment, such as surgical removal of a brain tumor. However, there are many cases where stereotactic radiosurgery is an effective primary treatment, often in place of surgery or traditional radiation therapy. When compared to these two forms of treatment, stereotactic radiosurgery can offer many benefits.
Stereotactic radiosurgery delivers focused treatment to a small area, rather than dosing both healthy and target tissues. For example, whole brain radiation requires multiple sessions of low-dose radiation to the entire brain. This can lead to many of the unpleasant side effects commonly associated with radiation therapy, like nausea and headache. Recovery following stereotactic radiosurgery is typically much milder. Stereotactic radiosurgery also requires fewer treatment sessions than traditional radiation therapy.
Additionally, stereotactic radiosurgery can serve as a minimally invasive alternative to traditional surgery. During stereotactic radiosurgery, there are no scalpels or incisions. This also means no sutures or scarring. The risk of post-operative infection and bleeding at the incision site are eliminated, along with risks associated with general anesthesia. Recovery following traditional surgery typically requires a hospital stay, followed by weeks of activity restrictions and recovery. After stereotactic radiosurgery, there is no hospital stay and most patients return to normal activities (including work) within a day or two.
Reason 2: Stereotactic radiosurgery has an established record as an effective treatment option for conditions of the brain, head and neck.
Stereotactic radiosurgery was developed over 40 years ago and has been used around the world since. The Gamma Knife radiosurgery system alone has been used to treat over 1 million patients specifically with brain, head and neck conditions. Conditions that can be effectively treated with stereotactic radiosurgery as a primary or adjunctive therapy include:
- Acoustic neuroma
- Arteriovenous malformation
- Brain metastases
- Pineal tumors
- Pituitary tumors
- Skull base tumors
- Trigeminal neuralgia
- Vascular malformation
- Vestibular schwannoma
If you have been diagnosed with any of these conditions, you may want to consider discussing stereotactic radiosurgery as a treatment option with your personal doctor.
Reason 3: You may be a candidate for stereotactic radiosurgery, even if your doctor has not considered it in your treatment plan.
If your doctor has not included stereotactic radiosurgery in the treatment planning process, it could be because he or she does not offer it as a treatment option. However, that does not necessarily mean it is not a viable approach for your particular condition. Should you be interested in learning more about stereotactic radiosurgery as it relates to your individual case, ask your doctor at your next appointment. If he or she is not familiar enough with stereotactic radiosurgery to answer your questions, ask for a recommendation for someone who can. You can also always reach out to a stereotactic radiosurgery treatment center in northern NJ on your own to seek out a second opinion, if necessary.
Your Next Steps
At this point, you have at least three good reasons to discuss stereotactic radiosurgery with your personal doctor.
- For many patients, stereotactic radiosurgery offers benefits over traditional radiation therapy and surgery.
- Stereotactic radiosurgery has been used for over 40 years to treat over 1 million patients with conditions of the brain, head and neck.
- Your doctor may not have considered stereotactic radiosurgery when developing your treatment plan, but you may still be a candidate for treatment.
If stereotactic radiosurgery is a treatment option that interests you, be sure to continue the discussion with your doctor at your next appointment. He or she will be able to answer your questions regarding stereotactic radiosurgery as it relates to your individual condition and whether it is a viable treatment option for your particular case.