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Stereotactic Radiation Therapy & Radiosurgery

At Montefiore Einstein Comprehensive Cancer Center, you can benefit from some of the nation’s best stereotactic therapy and radiosurgery.
This therapy for hard-to-treat and hard-to-reach tumors combines 4D imaging and a precise, high-intensity radiation beam to eliminate small tumors that cannot be reached with surgery. These treatments are delivered by our team of cancer specialists using a comprehensive range of state-of-the-art technology. 


A Collaborative Approach to Care

The world-renowned specialists at our Comprehensive Cancer Center use a multidisciplinary approach to provide a rapid, accurate diagnosis, and to determine if stereotactic therapy and radiosurgery treatments should be part of your optimal treatment plan.  

As a patient-centered, evidence-based, Comprehensive Cancer Center, research is at the heart of what we do. We work to increase the cure rate for people with cancer and provide them with a better quality of life. To achieve this, we are leading several clinical trials related to care for malignant (cancerous) brain tumors–commonly treated with stereotactic therapy and radiosurgery. 


About Stereotactic Therapy & Radiosurgery

Stereotactic therapy and radiosurgery are types of external beam radiation therapy (EBRT) treatments.  

Stereotactic therapy and radiosurgery target tumors that: 

  • Are hard to reach  

  • Cannot be treated with surgery 

  • Move with normal body function (like breathing) 

Stereotactic radiosurgery  

Stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) therapy delivers radiation using equipment that accesses your body with precise accuracy, combining 4D computed tomography imaging with a precise, high-intensity radiation beam to target small tumors that cannot be reached with surgery. SRS delivers a highly focused dose of radiation to cancerous tissue, often in one to three treatment sessions.  

The treatment produces such a dramatic effect that doctors consider the changes equivalent to surgery. Stereotactic radiosurgery can be used to treat tumors located in the: 

  • Brain  

  • Liver 

  • Lung 

  • Pancreas 

  • Prostate 

  • Spine  

Stereotactic radiosurgery is an effective minimally invasive procedure that is proven to reduce the length of your hospital stay for certain brain cancers and conditions. 

Stereotactic Body Radiotherapy 

When used to treat body tumors, this therapy is called stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT), targeting tumors on organs that move with natural body motions, like breathing. SBRT: 

  • Treats small tumors outside the brain and spinal cord 

  • Treats isolated tumors in organs like the liver or lungs 

  • Uses smaller radiation dose, given over several days, to protect healthy tissue 

Types of Stereotactic Radiosurgery

The radiation delivered by stereotactic radiosurgery can be created in different ways. There are two types of stereotactic radiosurgery: 

  • Linear acceleration: These machines use X-rays to treat tumors. They perform surgery in one to five sessions, depending on the size of the tumor. Brand names include CyberKnife and TrueBeam.  

  • Gamma knife: These machines use about 200 small beams of gamma rays to target brain cancers. Gamma knife machines treat small-to-medium-sized tumors and damaged tissue in the brain.

Stereotactic Therapy & Radiosurgery: What to Expect 

If your cancer diagnosis is best treated with this therapy, the stereotactic radiation specialists at Montefiore Einstein Comprehensive Cancer Center will design a custom treatment plan personalized for you.

Planning Your Treatment

Our medical physicists develop your treatment plan based on your diagnosis, tumor location and size. We use state-of-the-art imaging and specialized software to determine the best delivery method and the most effective radiation dose.

Other preparations include:

  • Fitting you with an immobilization device, like a head frame, to keep you still during treatment.
  • Surgically placing a marker, if needed, near the tumor before treatment.
  • Performing a pre-treatment simulation to ensure all calculations are correct.


During Treatment

Your treatment lasts between one and four hours, depending on your specific care plan. During treatment:

  • A sedative may be given to help you relax.
  • A specialized bed fitted with your immobilization device will be used.
  • Radiation beams will target your tumor from different angles.
  • Radiation will not be felt.
  • Doctors can be spoken with by microphone.

Your care team closely monitors the entire treatment process, making adjustments to ensure precise accuracy.


After Your Procedure

When radiation delivery is complete:

  • The immobilization device is removed.
  • Medicine for headaches or nausea may be given.
  • You can eat and drink.


Common Side Effects

After stereotactic therapy and radiosurgery treatment, you may experience some common side effects, such as:

  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Pain and infection at the pin-sites of a head frame
  • Vertigo


Your care team will help you manage symptoms and side effects of your treatment.