Stereotactic radiosurgery for the treatment of brain tumor

A brain tumor is a serious condition that needs immediate treatment. While some begin from the central nervous system, others might occur due to the spread of cancer in the body to the brain. With brain tumors, accuracy and precision are very important. They are the key to an effective, safe, and successful treatment.  Brain tumors, nervous system conditions, and others are often discovered in critical locations that cannot be treated with conventional surgery because of its location in the body or the health of the person that needs to be treated. Therefore, doctors make use of stereotactic radiosurgery to treat some of them.

 

Stereotactic radiosurgery is an advanced procedure that involves the delivery of strong and targeted doses of radiation to a little area which effectively kills a small group of cells. It is a very powerful type of radiation therapy that makes use of high dose radiation and focuses on a particular location. This radiation is used to destroy the DNA of cells or tumors which stops them from reproducing and causes death to the tissue of the tumor. They are used for the treatment of deep brain tumors, liver, benign, lungs, and other parts of the body.  Doctors also use them to treat areas that are very close to vital organs in the body and It is safer than the traditional mode of radiation.

 

The surgery does not involve incisions. Rather, it makes use of 3D imaging to target a high dose of radiation into the affected area without affecting the surrounding tissue. The development of new technologies has helped health professionals who deal with brain tumors such as neurosurgeons, neuroradiologists, radiation oncologists, and others work together to treat patients with stereotactic surgery.

 

 

Types of stereotactic radiosurgery for brain tumor

Gamma knife

There is no incision involved in this surgery. It involves the use of a machine that is developed with 192-200 beams of radiation. The radiation rises from all angles and converges on the tumor. It is an excellent choice for tumors that are not far from critical nerves such as the ones responsible for vision. This method is used for the treatment of abnormalities in the brain caused by cancer and other forms. The latest machine developed has also helped to expand the option of the use of masks instead of headframes. It has also allowed the treatment of patients who need whole-brain radiation.

 

Linear accelerator

This method does not also involve incision rather it makes use of X-rays to treat abnormalities in the brain and other parts of the body. They work by using robotic radiation which moves to many angels and delivers focus radiation while wearing a mask. The machine monitors the patient’s position throughout the treatment and adjusts for millimeter movement. This machine includes Cyberknife, Truebeam, and many more. Patients can go home the same day after the treatment with no worry of exposure of radiation to family members.

 

Proton beam therapy

This is a newly developed stereotactic radiosurgery. Although proton beam centers have increased greatly in the past few years, the numbers of centers are still very few. Proton beam therapy makes use of a single session of stereotactic radiosurgery for the treatment of brain cancer. It also makes use of several sessions of fractionated stereotactic radiosurgery for the treatment of body tumors.

 

Side effects of stereotactic radiosurgery

Hair and scalp problem

Many people lose some hair in the site where the device is attached to the head. The scalp can be reddish, sensitive and irritating at the same spot

 

Swelling

Swelling may occur in the brain or the site of attachment which often causes migraine, vomiting, or nausea. Doctors often prescribe medications such as anti-inflammatory medicine to the symptoms or prevent its occurrence.