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Stereotactic Gamma Ray Surgery for Extracranial Lesions and Tumors


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.


Before your treatment:

  • Informed consent is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.
  • Vital signs: Healthcare providers will check your blood pressure, heart rate, breathing rate, and temperature. They will also ask about your pain. Vital signs give information about your current health.

During your treatment:

  • You are 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 plastic devices are used to hold your body very still during treatment. The table that you are lying on is moved inside the treatment area.
  • MRI or CT scans are used to make sure that you are in the right position so that the beams are pointed directly at your tumor. Your healthcare provider sets the shape of the beams and the amount of radiation your tumor will get. Lie still and relax during the treatment. If your liver or lungs are being treated, healthcare providers will tell you if you need to hold your breath or follow other directions. The beams pass through your bones and tissues and reach your tumor. Your bed is then moved out of the treatment area. The body frame and other devices are removed.

After your treatment:

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


  • 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.


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 healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

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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.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.