Stereotactic Radiosurgery (SRS)

UIC Neurosurgery is now home to the most technologically advanced and state of the art stereotactic radiosurgery systems:

  • BrainLAB
  • Novalis Stereotactic Radiosurgery System
  • Exactrac Image Guidance System.

Patients with malignant and non-malignant brain and spinal tumors now have access to the fastest and most precise forms of treatment from our world class neurosurgeons and radiation oncologists. This form of treatment has an excellent rate of success due to the elimination of the standard risks of surgery, minimal side effects, and rapid recovery period.

What is Stereotactic Radiosurgery?

Stereotactic Radiosurgery (SRS) is a treatment method that focuses high doses of radiation at a tumor or the target, while limiting the exposure of radiation to the surrounding normal tissue. Though it is called “surgery”, no knife or scalpel is used. The treatment may be useful for tumors that are in places where conventional surgery would harm essential tissue, for example, in the brain or spinal cord, or when a patient’s condition does not permit conventional surgery. In cases in which the results of conventional surgery and SRS are similar, use of SRS may be able to avoid particular kinds of complications. Recent advances in imaging and patient positioning and targeting, have also made SRS appropriate for treating cancers in the chest, breast, spine, and prostate.

When is Stereotactic Radiosurgery Used?

SRS may be used alone or in combination with other treatments like chemotherapy, radiation therapy, surgery, and embolization.

Stereotactic radiosurgery is a way to very sharply focus a lot of radiation directly on a target, such as a brain tumor.

Who Provides Stereotactic Radiosurgery?

SRS procedures are performed at the University of Illinois Hospital by a multidisciplinary team of staff that are dedicated to caring for the needs of each patient. Physicians on the team include a radiation oncologist and a neurosurgeon. Other members of the SRS team include medical physicists, radiation therapists, registered nurses, and behind the scenes, the dosimetrist. Together this team assures individualized and quality care for every patient.

How is Stereotactic Radiosurgery (SRS) Performed?

A simulation CT is required prior to the SRS or a three dimensional image, such as an MRI or a PET CT, to determine where the tumor is precisely located. These images allow the physician to determine the size and shape of the tumor so that the radiation dosage can be planned and exactly delivered. The treatment is very precise and the patient remains gently stationary during the process. To ensure that the treatment remains accurate, a special head frame (placed by the neurosurgeon) or mask is worn by the patient to keep the head still.

The ExacTrac Image Guidance System allows us to visualize tumor and patient position before we begin treatment. This in turn allows us greater precision and accuracy with our radiation dose.

Where is Stereotactic Radiosurgery Performed?

Stereotactic Radiosurgery is performed in the outpatient setting and requires only oral or IV sedation and local anesthesia. SRS procedures are performed in a one day treatment. Recovery and healing is fast and patients resume normal activities very quickly following the treatment. The radiosurgery unit is located on the concourse level (North side) of the Outpatient Care Center.

The SRS program is a major component of the overall neuro-oncology program at the University of Illinois Hospital & Health Sciences System. The neuro-oncology program is headed by Dr. Engelhard, and includes comprehensive treatment of patients diagnosed with malignant and benign tumors of the brain, spine, or spinal cord. Treatment may include surgery, radiosurgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and use of the Novo-TTF-100A device. NOVO-TTF therapy is a new FDA-approved treatment for patients having glioblastoma.