Stereotactic radiotherapy offers three‑dimensional benefits
Stereotactic radiotherapy was developed specifically for the treatment of brain tumours, because ionising radiation is extremely damaging to the healthy brain tissue surrounding the tumour. To determine the treatment target, CT and MRI images are merged and combined with coordinates outside the head. A personal mask is prepared during imaging at the planning stage of the treatment to prevent the patient from moving during treatment. If necessary, the mask can be modified toaccommodate claustrophobic patients, for example. Stereotactic radiotherapy is an extremely precise form of radiotherapy, in which the radiation is delivered three-dimensionally with maximum precision.
In practice, the radiotherapy equipment encircles the head at multiple levels. This restricts the high dose of radiation to the tumour and ensures the surrounding healthy brain tissue receives little radiation. As an example of the great accuracy of stereotactic therapy, many cancer patients receiving the treatment avoid the unfortunate hair loss common in cancer patients.