Kelly de la Rocha
Stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) is a way to treat brain disorders. It uses highly focused beams of radiation to target specific areas of the brain. It can also be used on other parts of the body, such as the spine. The beams of radiation destroy the tissue that a neurosurgeon would have removed during an operation.
SRS is used to:
If you are planning to have SRS, your doctor will review a list of possible complications such as:
Rare complications may include:
Before your procedure, talk to your doctor about ways to manage factors that may increase your risk of complications such as:
Other factors that may increase the risk of complications include:
You will receive treatment from your doctor and a team of others who specialize in radiation.
Your doctor may do the following:
Your doctor may ask if you:
Leading up to your procedure:
The day before your procedure:
The day of your procedure:
There are a few types of SRS:
The procedure will be done using beams of highly focused gamma rays. It is used to treat smaller brain tumors and functional brain disorders.
There are four phases to this treatment:
This treatment uses one large, powerful radiation beam. It is used to treat small and large brain tumors. You will go through the same phases listed above. During radiation delivery, part of the machine will move around you. The treatment couch will also be moved. Some newer systems can also deliver radiation to tumors of the spinal cord.
This treatment is given using a small linear accelerator that is on top of a robotic arm. It is used to treat tumors and injuries of the brain and spine. No head frame is used.
There are three phases to this treatment:
If your treatment required a head frame:
During your stay, the hospital staff will take steps to reduce your chance of infection such as:
There are also steps you can take to reduce your chances of infection such as:
SRS works over time. It may take several months to several years to see results.
After arriving home, contact your doctor if any of the following occurs:
In case of an emergency, call for medical help right away.
American Association of Neurological Surgeons
International Radiosurgical Association
Linear accelerator. RadilogyInfo website. Available at:
http://www.radiologyinfo.org/pdf/linac.pdf. Updated March 7, 2013. Accessed April 29, 2013.
Radiosurgery. University of Chicago Medical Center website.
http://www.uchospitals.edu/online-library/content=P08476. Accessed April 29, 2013.
Stereotactic radiosurgery: frequently asked questions. International Radiosurgical Association website. Available at:
http://www.irsa.org/qa.html. Accessed April 29, 2013.
Stereotactic radiosurgery overview. International Radiosurgical Association website. Available at:
http://www.irsa.org/radiosurgery.html. Accessed April 29, 2013.
What is stereotactic radiosurgery and how is it used? RadiologyInfo website. Available at:
http://www.radiologyinfo.org/en/info.cfm?pg=stereotactic. Updated March 15, 2013. Accessed April 29, 2013.
Last reviewed April 2013 by Rimas Lukas, MD;
Michael Woods, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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