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Stereotactic radiosurgery is not surgery in the conventional sense. Its combination of advanced radiation tools and complex three-dimensional surgical planning techniques is used for precise delivery of highly focused radiation that can pinpoint a tumor or other target with little or no effect on normal surrounding tissue. It does not involve scalpels or other invasive tools, and does not require any openings in the skull or spine. Stereotactic radiosurgery has been used with great success in the treatment of brain tumors and other conditions as an alternative to “open” surgery.
Stereotactic radiosurgery may be used either alone or in combination with other treatments, including traditional surgery, chemotherapy and other medications, “conventional” radiation, and embolization. Procedures done on the brain and spine are performed by a multidisciplinary team that includes a neurosurgeon, a radiation oncologist, and a medical physicist, all of whom have undergone special training and certification in stereotactic radiosurgery. The procedures are done on an outpatient basis, usually done under local or no anesthesia. The patient is awake for this painless treatment, and in most cases may return to their usual activities that same day or on the day after treatment.