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Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy

About Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy (SBRT)

Stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) is a noninvasive technique which precisely delivers high doses of radiation to a tumor, while minimizing damage to the surrounding normal, healthy tissues. Special equipment called a Stereotactic Body Frame® positions the patient and gives coordinates to the tumor's location during the diagnostic exam and treatment to ensure accuracy. The procedure is performed on an outpatient basis and requires no hospitalization. Ronald McGarry, MD, helped pioneer this new technology and has many years of experience with this advanced treatment.

What are the Advantages of SBRT Over Traditional Radiation Therapy?

Tumors are often irregular in size and shape, especially if the tumor is large. Radiation (high powered X-rays) has been used for decades to help cure cancers. The radiation must be carefully planned, using uniform and exact doses of radiation to prevent cancers from spreading. Three-dimensional computer imaging is used to deliver millimeter precision in tumor targeting and treatment delivery. In fact, the word 'stereotactic' comes from stereo, meaning three-dimensional movement and tactic, meaning toward. Similar technology is used for Gamma Knife treatments. 

Also, traditional radiation therapy can require 20-40 treatments over a four to seven week period. SBRT requires only one to five treatments with a higher dose of radiation. Patients can go home the same day as their procedure and not require any recovery time.

What Diseases Can we Treated with SBRT?

Generally, SBRT has been successful in treating:

  • Early stage primary inoperable lung cancer.
  • Small size/numbers of metastatic spots in the lung (cancer from another site that has spread to the lung).
  • Early stage liver cancer.
  • Limited spread of other cancers to the liver.
  • Renal cell cancers, if localized.
  • Prostate cancer, currently under investigation.

Treatment outcomes are different for each patient and not every cancer is appropriately treated with SBRT. Your health care provider will evaluate your eligibility for SBRT.