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Stereotactic radiation therapy

Stereotactic radiation therapy is a specialized form of external radiation treatment where very high doses of precise radiation are directed at small targets. Because of the high level of radiation, the number of individual treatments required is less than in typical external beam radiotherapy (usually between 1 and 5 sessions). However, these treatments may take 30 to 60 minutes to deliver.

The areas that are typically treated with these techniques include small tumors in the brain, lung, liver or spine. These treatments are often called Stereotactic Body Radiotherapy (SBRT). The term Stereotactic Radiosurgery (SRS) typically refers to a single high-dose external radiation treatment typically directed at a small brain tumor.

Gamma Knife®

Minneapolis Radiation Oncology in partnership with the University of Minnesota brought Gamma Knife technology to the Twin Cities. The Gamma Knife is a specialized radiosurgery device that delivers a high dose of external radiation using multiple pinpoint beams to a small target within the brain. It is a way to treat brain tumors and certain other brain diseases (arteriovenous malformations, trigeminal neuralgia, vestibular schwannomas and certain functional disorders) without a scalpel or incision. Gamma Knife surgery is a one-day outpatient procedure and is virtually painless. Your head does not need to be shaved for the procedure.

Gamma Knife radiosurgery is a team effort involving your radiation oncologist, a neurosurgeon and a medical radiation physicist. On the day of treatment, your neurosurgeon will use a head frame to immobilize you during treatment and provide a reference for the location of the tumor during imaging.

When the head frame is in place, a series of CT and/or MRI scans will be taken. After that, you can rest while the imaging data is transferred to a specialized computer. In many cases you can read, watch television, or even eat while planning takes place.

The computer system will determine the precise target position, dosage, and configuration of radiation. Once the treatment plan is approved by your radiation oncologist, the treatment is delivered.

If you have questions regarding Gamma Knife radiosurgery, call Dr. Paul Sperduto at 952-442-6000, or visit www.braintumorminnesota.com