What to Expect
Stereotactic Radiosurgery is typically performed as an outpatient procedure. While the actual treatment time is short, the preparation and planning process will take the majority of the day. Therefore, you should plan to spend the day at The Medical Center.
Step 1: Placement of the Head Frame
The first step in the process is the placement of a head frame. The purpose of the head frame is to guide the radiation beams to the precise location of the tumor. The frame is attached to your head with special pins to prevent your head from moving during the procedure.
Step 2: Diagnostic Imaging
After the head frame is attached, a CT scan is performed to show where the tumor is in relation to the head frame.
Step 3: Development of Treatment Plan
Next, the treatment plan is formulated. The neurosurgeon, radiation oncologist, physicist and dosimetrist use the CT scan as a guide to help determine the optimal treatment plan. Special computer software is used to determine the radiation dose and beam configuration. The goal is to irradiate the tumor while minimizing exposure to normal tissue surrounding the tumor.
This is a complex step in the process that requires two to five hours for completion. You will stay in a private room and be able to eat, watch TV or relax. Family and friends can join you during this time. The Nurse Practitioner will check in with you periodically.
Step 4: Treatment
The last step in the process is the treatment delivery. You will be taken to the treatment room where you will lie on the treatment table. A team member will explain what will happen during the treatment delivery so you understand what to expect. You will be monitored throughout the treatment via a camera and intercom, and you can communicate with the team as needed.
After your treatment, you will return to your private room for rest and observation. The head frame will be removed and bandaids will cover the front pin sites. Your physician will come speak to you, and after a period of observation, he will discharge you. The Nurse Practitioner will provide discharge education and instruction and a follow up appointment will be scheduled.
You will need a family member or friend to drive you home following the procedure. A responsible adult must stay with you for up to 24 hours following your treatment.