Stereotactic Radiosurgery with Varian Edge™
Coming late 2021
What Is Stereotactic Radiosurgery?
Despite its name, stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) is a nonsurgical, noninvasive technique for delivering radiation beams to a tumor with great precision.
Stereotactic radiosurgery uses imaging and multiple external radiation beams to precisely target cancer cells in the brain or spine. The individual beams are directed at the tumor from various angles. When the beams intersect, they create high-intensity radiation that destroys the DNA of the cancer cells but leaves the surrounding healthy tissue untouched.
The same technology can also be used to target cancer in other areas of the body and is then referred to as stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT). SBRT is commonly used to treat lung, liver and other soft-tissue tumors.
The Edge Radiosurgery System
At El Camino Health Cancer Center, we use the Varian EdgeTM radiosurgery system. This leading-edge technology ensures precision by using a real-time tumor tracking system to detect even the slightest tumor movement. The advanced precision of this system enables us to target a wide range of tumors that are typically difficult to reach with traditional surgery.
Benefits of Stereotactic Radiosurgery
Although individual experiences may vary, benefits of SRS can include:
- Less risk for complications. Since the radiation is targeted to the precise area in need of treatment, surrounding areas are left untouched. There are also no incisions needed, which eliminates the need for wound care or the possibility of infection.
- Fewer treatments needed. With standard radiotherapy, patients may need up to 40 treatments over the course of several weeks. Stereotactic radiosurgery requires only one to five treatment sessions (each lasting one hour or less) and can usually be completed within a week.
- Quicker recovery. In most cases, stereotactic radiosurgery can be performed on an outpatient basis. This means you can go home immediately after treatment, and many people find they can go back to their normal activities by the next day.
What to Expect During Stereotactic Radiosurgery
Before beginning treatment, your medical team uses 2D and 3D imaging technology to locate the exact size and position of the tumor. Information gained from these images will help determine the amount of radiation to be used, the angles to deliver it and the number of sessions needed.
Because stereotactic radiosurgery is such a precise procedure, imaging and correct positioning is crucial to the process. The position in which you’re scanned is the same position in which you’ll be treated. Since exact positioning is so important, your team may mark your skin or even make devices, such as body molds or head masks, to help ensure that you remain in the proper position throughout treatment.
When you arrive for treatment, your radiation therapist will help you get into the proper position on the "couch" (a platform that works with the radiation machine). Then, the head of a machine, called a LINAC, will move around you and deliver the doses of radiation in the exact location and shape needed to treat the tumor.
Each radiosurgery session takes from a couple of minutes to up to an hour. You'll be able to go home immediately following the procedure, and most people can get back to their normal activities by the next day.