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Sentara Martha Jefferson Monday: Frameless Stereotactic Radiosurgery

Published: Nov. 28, 2021 at 8:28 PM EST
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital) - Patients who need stereotactic radiosurgery on their brain must stay incredibly still while undergoing treatment.

“You want the head to be very still during stereotactic radio surgery because you’re targeting very small targets, on the order of sometimes only millimeters in size,” noted Dr. Anthony Crimaldi, a radiation oncologist at the Sentara Martha Jefferson Cancer Center.

At some cancer centers, a frame is drilled to a patient’s head in the operating room before treatment to ensure stillness. However, thanks to technology at Sentara Martha Jefferson, that’s not needed. Instead, a frameless technique is used.

“Patients like frameless treatment because it’s easier,” noted Dr. Crimaldi. “It’s just like radiation. They come in for a planning session, they leave, and then they come back and they get a treatment.”

The stiff plastics masks are made on-site and are fit to each individual patient. Dr. Crimaldi says that between the mask, and sophisticated software, precision is still possible.

“The masks are actually open in the face/nose areas because there’s actually infrared beam that the machine generates that reads their facial contour and it’s monitoring that the entire time a patient is getting treated,” said Dr. Crimaldi.

If a patient breaths or moves, the computer system is triggered to stop and re-set to ensure patient safety, and that the proper target can be reached.

“Then we can realign the patient, make everything go back to green, to a perfect set up, and start treatment again,” said Dr. Crimaldi.

If you would like more information on this topic, please call 1-800-SENTARA.

If you have a question about your health you’d like us to answer, email healthquestions@nbc29.com.

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