Is Radiosurgery a Non-Invasive Procedure?

Posted on: February 16, 2024

Radiosurgery Orange, CA

Radiosurgery or stereotactic radiosurgery is a technique used to deliver high doses of radiation to targets within the brain. Radiosurgery, despite its name, is not a surgical procedure. Instead, the name comes from its precision. Radiosurgery can treat benign brain tumors, small brain metastases, arteriovenous malformations, and trigeminal neuralgia.

How does radiosurgery work?

Unlike surgical interventions, radiosurgery is non-invasive. Side effects from radiosurgery tend to be mild by comparison and temporary. Patients may experience fatigue for the first few weeks and an irritated, red scalp from the devices attached to their heads. In a small number of patients, temporary hair loss occurs. After radiosurgery, swelling near the treatment site may come with headaches, nausea, and vomiting. To counter the side effects, most doctors prescribe an anti-inflammatory.

Types of radiosurgery

There are three types of technology doctors utilize when it comes to radiosurgery. Doctors may use the linear accelerator, proton beam therapy, or the gamma knife. There is no incision, and instead, 3D imaging allows the doctors to target the radiation to the tumor. While doctors can use radiosurgery on various tumors throughout the body, in pediatric neurosurgery, the focus is the brain.

Linear accelerator

A linear accelerator or LINAC machine uses X-rays to treat cancerous and noncancerous abnormalities. For smaller tumors, the LINAC machine treats the affected site in one session, whereas for large tumors, a patient may need three to five sessions. Doctors refer to the therapy as fractionated stereotactic radiotherapy when patients undergo multiple sessions.

Proton beam therapy

One new advance in radiosurgery is charged particle radiosurgery or proto beam therapy. To find proton beam therapy, patients have to visit specific health centers. Generally, patients only require one session to treat cancer in the brain.

Gamma knife

A gamma knife machine has about 192 or 201 small beams of gamma rays. The gamma rays treat cancerous and noncancerous abnormalities by targeting the area. While not as common as LINAC machines, gamma knives can treat minor to medium tumors and lesions.

Benefits of radiosurgery

When a patient undergoes radiosurgery, the physician uses specialized equipment to focus small radiation beams on the tumor or other target. The rays do not severely impact the tissue they pass through. Instead, where the beams intersect, the site receives targeted radiation.

Delivering radiation closes off the blood vessels over time and shrinks the tumors. Tumors require a blood supply, and radiosurgery helps cut it off. One of the significant benefits of radiosurgery is that it does minor damage to any of the healthy surrounding tissues because it is precise. Radiation therapy and traditional surgery tend to have more side effects and complications than radiosurgery.

Conclusion

Radiosurgery is a non-invasive procedure that targets brain tumors and other abnormalities. Radiosurgery tends to have mild side effects following the process, and doctors can perform it on various patients with various conditions, including brain cancer. During radiosurgery, targeted beams cut off the blood supply and shrink tumors.

Children with brain abnormalities or tumors require gentle care with effective results. Visit our office to find out more about how we can perform various pediatric neurosurgeries.

Check out what others are saying about our services on Yelp: Radiosurgery in Orange, CA.


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