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Stereotactic Radiosurgery for Brain Tumors

Stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) sends narrow beams of radiation into your cancer. The beams can focus on a tumor of any size or shape. It causes little damage to nearby healthy cells.

If you have only one or a few brain tumors, SRS may be the first type of treatment you get. If you have many tumors, you may get radiation to the whole brain first. You may have SRS later if the cancer comes back in some parts of the brain, or if some tumors need more treatment.

Benefits of SRS

  • SRS can reach tumors anywhere in the brain.
  • SRS does not harm healthy brain cells near the tumors.
  • SRS can treat people who would not do well with surgery.
  • With SRS, you need only one to five treatments. Other radiation treatments may require 10 sessions or more.
  • SRS causes no pain.
  • You do not need to stay in the hospital for SRS.

Planning & Preparation

Before the SRS treatment, you will have a planning session at Huntsman Cancer Institute in the Radiation Oncology clinic. It is on the first floor of the Huntsman Cancer Institute Hospital. Please do not wear a high-necked shirt or jewelry to the planning and treatment sessions.

During SRS treatment, your head must stay completely still for up to an hour. To do this, radiation technologists make a mask that fits your face exactly. It attaches to the radiation treatment table. If you have trouble being in tight spaces, tell the radiation team. They can give you medicine to help you relax.

After your mask is made, radiation therapists do a CT scan while you wear it. They use information from the scan to plan the SRS treatment. The planning session may take several hours. Treatments usually start a few days after the planning session.

Video: What to Expect


You may eat, drink, and bathe normally before SRS treatments. About 30 minutes before the treatment, you will take steroid pills to prevent swelling. You will wear your mask during the treatment. Remember to tell the radiation team if you have trouble being in tight spaces. They can give you medicine to help you relax.

The radiation technologists will take you to the treatment room and leave. Only you can be in the room when the radiation beams are on. Your radiation team can see and hear you with a video camera and intercom system during the sessions. If you need help, wave your hand and the team will stop the radiation at once.

The treatment machine sends radiation to a precise point in the tumor. Then it turns so radiation hits the tumor from many angles. The treatment takes between 30 minutes to 1½ hours. You can go home when the treatment is over.

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