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CyberKnife for Astrocytomas
Stereotactic radiosurgery can improve the quality of life and extend survival for patients with malignant brain tumors including astrocytomas. In the past, radiosurgery has been limited to tumors which are less than 4 cm in size, because of the limitations of having to place the patient in a head frame, and treating in only one session. Cyberknife radiosurgery, by using the patient’s own anatomy for tumor tracking, makes the frame unnecessary; lesions which are larger or close to critical structures can now be treated safely. Malignant brain tumors are often shaped very irregularly, and the robotic, non-isocentric delivery technique utilized by the Cyberknife makes it possible to optimally conform the dose of radiation.
Following Cyberknife radiosurgery for treatment of a malignant brain tumor, the patient usually returns home the same day. Mild fatigue is common, but nausea or worsening of the patient’s condition is unusual. Patients who are on seizure medications will remain on these until advised to do otherwise by their neurosurgeon or radiation oncologist. Hair loss is unlikely, and if it does occur, it is usually limited to a small portion of the scalp.
Because the Cyberknife is so precise, radiosurgery can often times be repeated again at a later date if necessary, in order to provide continued benefit for the patient.