What to Expect with SBRT

Published On 07/11/2011

Using three-dimensional therapy, radiation oncologists can use numerous beams of radiation to shape the dose around the contours of the tumor so the tumor receives a full dose of radiation, while nearby vital organs and healthy tissue are spared.

During the procedure, the patient is comfortably secured to the table to keep the patient as still as possible helping to ensure the radiation is delivered to the exact location where it is needed. The linear accelerator moves 360 degrees around the patient delivering radiation beams at precise angles. Depending on each patient's individual case, three to five high dose radiation sessions may be planned. Traditionally, low doses of radiation were given over several weeks.

One way radiation oncologists can target a spinal tumor is to use instrumentation, such as screws and rods that neurosurgeons have implanted to stabilize the spine. Radiation oncologists can effectively target and use these screws and rods in real time to direct radiation beams to the precise location of the tumor.

Personal Experience with Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy

Henry McFall of Savannah, Tenn. was the first patient to undergo stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT), the most advanced radiation treatment to target tumors, at Methodist University Hospital. He had a tumor wrapped around a vertebra in his thoracic spine that was causing him excruciating pain.

McFall said the pain was so bad during the day that it was just unbearable. He underwent surgery through the back of his neck to remove as much of the tumor as possible. The remaining tumor in front of McFall's thoracic spine was the width of just three sheets of paper away from his spinal cord, so he required a treatment with pinpoint accuracy and SBRT was the exact procedure he needed.

Our radiation oncologists are experts in the field of stereotactic body radiation therapy. Please call 888.777.5959 to make an appointment with a radiation oncologist in your area.

You can also use our online physician directory to find a Methodist-affiliated radiation oncologist, orthopaedic surgeon or neurosurgeon.