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Stereotactic radiotherapy

Published on 07 February 2024

Highly focused stereotactic radiotherapy is a treatment on offer at the Edinburgh Cancer Centre. The service cares for patients who have non-cancerous conditions. Referrals to this base at the Western General Hospital come from a diverse team that spans Scotland.

When do patients need stereotactic radiotherapy?

The service treats arteriovenous malformations (AVM) and vestibular schwannoma (VS), these are abnormalities in the brain. A small number of rarer tumours can also benefit from this method, these inlcude meningioma, paraganglionoma and some base of skull tumours. Several beams of radiation target the tumours very precisely.

Patients need stereotactic radiotherapy if surgery may have too high a risk of mortality (death) or morbidity (disease). This can either be due to tumour location or patient fitness.

Patients with AVM need a planning angiogram. This looks at their blood vessels before they have stereotactic radiotherapy. For many, this requires an overnight stay but all pre-treatment procedures take place at this visit. These include CT and MRI scans, plus the angiogram.

Most other patients get one dose of radiotherapy in one day as outpatients. In addition to those who actually receive the radiotherapy, many discuss management options with an expert.

Referrals should be made via the service's dedicated email account: