Stereotactic Radiosurgery & Radiation Therapy 

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Houston Methodist’s neurosurgeons use the latest stereotactic radiosurgery and radiation therapy technologies to selectively attack brain tumors — even tumors previously considered untreatable.

Houston Methodist neurologists offer the most advanced stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) and radiation therapies. These advanced treatments use focused beams of radiation — directed to the precise shape and location of the tumor — to shrink and eliminate the cancer while safely passing through healthy brain tissue.


Radiation therapy, or radiotherapy, uses high-energy beams (X-rays or gamma rays, for example) to kill tumor cells and keep tumors from growing. Radiation can be targeted to reach the brain tumor without affecting other parts of the body, and may be used before, after or instead of surgery, depending on each patient’s situation. Some treatment plans will also include chemotherapy.


SRS often is a successful treatment option for patients with remaining lesions after brain surgery, or for those who have tumors in critical brain regions that cannot be safely accessed with conventional surgery. 


Highly efficient for primary and metastatic tumors, most patients can receive one-time SRS therapy or a short course of 3 to 5 treatmen  ts — instead of the usual 20 to 26 treatments — with fewer side effects than traditional radiation therapy. Advanced radiation therapy offers patients the potential for longer, higher quality lives.


Specialized Stereotactic Radiosurgery Equipment

Neurosurgeons and radiation oncologists at Houston Methodist Hospital Stereotactic Radiosurgery Program   use highly specialized stereotactic radiosurgery equipment, such as the Gamma Knife and Novalis®. 

Our surgeons use these leading-edge tools to create 3D maps of the brain, allowing them to administer higher doses of radiation with greater precision. That makes this noninvasive, nonsurgical treatment less toxic than previous brain tumor radiation treatments.

Types of Conditions Treated 

Houston Methodist specialists are experts at treating neurological conditions with SRS, such as:

  • Acoustic neuroma
  • Arteriovenous Malformations (AVMs), Dural AV Fistulas
  • Brain metastases 
  • Functional disorders (movement disorders, e.g.)
  • Gliomas 
  • Meningiomas
  • Skull base tumors: Schwannoma, chordoma, glomus tumors, adenoid cystic carcinoma, primary skull base carcinoma, esthesioneuroblastoma
  • Trigeminal neuralgia

What to Expect from SRS and Radiotherapy

What are potential risks and side effects?

While radiation is extremely effective in treating a variety of lesions, in rare cases it permanently injures surrounding structures.

Side effects
Potential side effects from radiation depend on the specific functions in or around the area being treated. To distinguish radiation injury from disease progression, patients may undergo specialized imaging, such as a PET scan, or may be treated with medications to reduce swelling or improve blood flow.


Your doctor will discuss potential risks and side effects with you prior to administering any treatments. 


What is the treatment process?

Before treatment, patients will undergo a 3D MRI and CT scan to give physicians an accurate view of each patient’s internal anatomy and the shape and location of each tumor. 


Then radiation oncologists and neurosurgeons work together to develop a personalized treatment plan. Your physician will walk you through the details of each step to make sure you understand what the treatment entails.

What happens after treatment?

Our team will assess the effectiveness of your treatment through periodic evaluations and imaging. We enter all patients into a database, and imaging and clinical updates are periodically reviewed by the SRS Treatment Board to monitor response and side effects. 


Your referring physician will receive updates from these evaluations as part of your longer-term care. A clinical contact will be available for any questions you might have before and after your SRS treatment.

Learn More About Brain Tumors

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Innovations in Brain Tumor Research

By using special MRI scans made before the surgery, we can register a patient’s head in 3D space to the 3D virtual-reality world of the computer. Then by touching the area that we wish to operate in, we can see exactly where we are on a virtual-reality computer-generated picture. 


This technology allows us to navigate precisely to and through areas of the brain that would previously be inaccessible with an accuracy of approximately 1 mm.



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