Radiosurgery Treatment Process
What to expect in radiosurgical treatment
Aria’s Cancer Center team can sometimes complete stereotactic radiosurgery treatments in one session, lasting one to four hours. Most patients feel no pain during the treatment and are able to go home immediately afterward.Stereotactic radiosurgery is a carefully controlled process that, at Aria’s Cancer Center, consists of a series of well-planned steps:
Consultation. A patient's first visit at the center will be with the Aria cancer specialist leading his or her treatment team, usually the radiation oncologist. This physician reviews the patient’s medical history and reports, makes a recommendation about any further tests that may be required, discusses the options available (including whether stereotactic treatment is appropriate), and works with the patient to choose an optimal course of treatment. If the treatment elected is stereotactic radiosurgery, the patient will receive full radiation treatment in one day; if it is stereotactic radiotherapy, the Aria team will schedule a series of appointments for the patient.
The department's CT scanner for treatment planning.
Treatment planning. With the information gathered during the positioning and imaging steps, a dedicated Aria medical team designs the best treatment plan for the patient’s situation. These specialists will use a sophisticated software program to generate a customized plan for the individual’s treatment.
Image-guided computer planning for treatment of a lung tumor.
The patient is alone in the room during the treatment – that is, when the machine is actually delivering the radiation beams – but the therapy team can see, hear, and communicate with the patient at all times through audio-video monitoring. The team will control the accelerator, imagers, and treatment table from outside the room.
Patients usually undergo the treatment as outpatients, and can return home immediately after the procedure. If any swelling or fluid build-up takes place at the site of the treatment, the radiation oncologist may prescribe a mild course of steriod medication. In rare cases, particularly of treatment for larger tumors,
the tissue destroyed may need to be removed.
Follow-up care. After patients complete their treatment, their Aria cancer specialist will monitor their progress with a series of follow-up visits. Blood tests, diagnostic x-rays, and sometimes additional CT scans and MR imaging may be needed at these appointments. The visits give patients an opportunity to review any questions or concerns and discuss ongoing follow-up, self care, and wellness.