Stereotactic Gamma Ray Surgery For Extracranial Lesions And Tumors

What you should know

Stereotactic gamma ray surgery is used to treat lesions and tumors that grow in areas of your body outside your head. These abnormal cells can grow in areas such as your lungs, liver, spine, pancreas, kidneys, and prostate. They can be benign (not cancer) or malignant (cancerous). Beams of radiation kill the tumor cells. Normal tissues near the tumor get little or no radiation. You may have one treatment using high energy beams, or many treatments using weaker beams.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

Risks

  • Radiation kills tumor cells but can also damage other normal cells in your body. Your organs can swell and become painful. There is also a chance that your tumor may come back or may not be completely removed. In some cases, a new tumor may grow after this treatment. You may get a blood clot in your leg or arm. The clot may travel to your heart or brain and cause life-threatening problems, such as a heart attack or stroke.

  • Without treatment, your tumors may grow bigger and push on other structures near it. The blood or nerve supply around it may be cut off. Nearby tissues and organs may be damaged and stop working. Your tumors may also spread to other parts of your body. If this happens, your tumors become more difficult to treat and other serious problems may develop. You may have organ damage or severe pain.

Getting Ready

The week before your treatment:

  • Ask a family member or friend to drive you home after your treatment. Do not drive yourself home.

  • Bring your medicine bottles or a list of your medicines when you see your caregiver. Tell your caregiver if you are allergic to any medicine. Tell your caregiver if you use any herbs, food supplements, or over-the-counter medicine.

  • Ask your caregiver if you need to stop using aspirin or any other prescribed or over-the-counter medicine before your procedure or surgery.

  • You may need x-rays, bone scans, CT scans, or MRIs to check the location, shape, and size of your tumor. Ask your caregiver for more information about these and other tests that you may need. Write down the date, time, and location of each test.

  • Write down the correct date, time, and location of your procedure.

The night before your treatment:

Ask caregivers about directions for eating and drinking.

The day of your treatment:

  • Ask your caregiver before you take any medicine on the day of your surgery. Bring a list of all the medicines you take, or your pill bottles, with you to the hospital. Caregivers will check that your medicines will not interact poorly with the medicine you need for surgery.

  • You or a close family member will be asked to sign a legal document called a consent form. It gives caregivers permission to do the procedure or surgery. It also explains the problems that may happen, and your choices. Make sure all your questions are answered before you sign this form.

Treatment

What will happen:

  • You will be placed on a table that can be moved to different positions. Shields that block radiation from reaching other parts of your body may be put over you. Body frames, vacuum pillows, or molded plastic devices can be used to hold your body very still during treatment. If your liver or lungs will be treated, your caregiver will tell you if you need to take a deep breath or follow other directions.

  • The table that you are lying on will be moved inside the treatment area. MRI or CT scans are used make sure you are in the right position so that the beams point directly at your tumor. Your caregiver will set the shape of the beams and the amount of radiation your tumor will get. The beams will pass through your bones and tissues and reach your tumor. You will need to lie still and relax during the treatment. After the treatment, your table will be moved out of the treatment area. The body frame and other devices will be removed.

After your treatment:

You may be taken to a room where caregivers will watch you closely for problems. Do not try to get out of bed until your caregiver says it is okay. Later, you will be taken to your hospital room, or you may be able to go home.

Contact a caregiver if

  • You have a fever.

  • You cannot make it to your treatment on time.

  • You have questions or concerns about your stereotactic gamma ray surgery.

Seek Care Immediately if

  • You had a seizure.

  • You have sudden shortness of breath or chest pain.

  • Your pain, weakness, or other symptoms get worse.

© 2014 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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