As the technology of radiotherapy has evolved over recent years, so has our ability to safely and accurately deliver a high dose of radiation to a target while allowing us to spare tissues that are just a fraction of a millimeter away. These technological advances have allowed us to shorten our treatment courses for cancers and other disorders from several weeks to as few as a single painless treatment. When a single high dose of radiation is delivered to an area in the brain or spine, it is known as radiosurgery.
Over the last several years, radiosurgery has grown in its utility and it now gives us the ability to treat not only cancers in the brain, but also non-cancers such as Trigeminal Neuralgia, Acoustic Neuroma, Arteriovenous malformations, meningiomas, and certain tremors. There was a time when patients who needed radiation to their head would be referred to a facility where a metal headframe was bolted onto their head with surgical screws. The patient would wear this headframe for several hours while a number of tests were performed followed by the procedure itself.
This technique is now obsolete. In the modern era, frameless radiosurgery is the standard of care and we are proud to offer these frameless stereotactic radiosurgery procedures with the Varian Edge at your Tri-Cities Cancer Center. Patients can now be fitted with a plastic molding of their face which allows us to stabilize their head for the procedure. On a separate day, the patient can have all other imaging that may be needed for planning of their treatment. This technique does not compromise accuracy or outcomes and it improves patient comfort and convenience.