Treatment Techniques

Some radiation oncologists divide radiosurgery into two categories, based on the type of cancer being treated:

  1. SRS or stereotactic radiosurgery, refers to the treatment of tumors in the brain or spinal column and is typically delivered in a maximum of 5 sessions.
  2. SBRT, or stereotactic body radiation therapy, is a very similar technique to SRS but is used for targets that are outside the brain and the spine. SBRT is most commonly used for targets in the lung, liver, pancreas and kidney, and is typically delivered in a maximum of 5 sessions.

Radiosurgery, whether SRS or SBRT, may use the following technologies to as part of the overall treatment:

IGRT, or image-guided radiation therapy, is a technique that uses 2-D and 3-D scans of your body to guide the beams of radiation to the tumor from many different angles. Before each treatment, a CT scan is taken in order to accurately capture the position of the tumor that day. Using imaging technology, your treatment team can take a detailed scan of the body, thus helping to position you correctly in relation to the linac for treatment.

VMAT/RapidArc, is an advanced form of IMRT that was introduced in 2007. VMAT, or volumetric arc therapy,uses special software and an advanced linear accelerator to deliver IMRT treatments up to eight times faster than what was previously possible. Unlike conventional IMRT treatments, during which the machine must rotate several times around the patient or make repeated stops and starts to treat the tumor from a number of different angles, VMAT / RapidArc can deliver the dose to the entire tumor in a single rotation — in less than two minutes.