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Frequently asked questions

What is the difference between Radiotherapy and Radiosurgery?

Radiosurgery packs all the dose usually given over 5-6 weeks, and gives it over 1-5 days.

The Radiosurgeon is a Radiation Oncologist who is trained in both radiotherapy, oncology, and the complex technologies used to deliver Radiosurgery. Since radiation is the ‘knife’ which ‘cuts’ the tumor, it is critical that the Radiosurgeon is well trained with radiation medicine.

What is the difference between Gamma-Knife and Radiosurgery?

Gamma-knife is the brand of one of the early machines used to deliver Radiosurgery. Because the navigational technologies were not as advanced in the past, patients required a Metal Frame to be screwed into their skull at 4 points so as to determine the location of the brain tumour.

Today, this is no longer required, and patients are able to undergo ‘Frameless’ Stereotactic Radiosurgery which is able to achieve the same or better results in some cases than using older techniques. The most convenient method of delivering Frameless Stereotactic Radiosurgery is by using an Advanced Linear Accelerator with a 6-dimensions of freedom robotic couch.

In gamma-knife, a Frame has to be screwed into the skull, followed by a planning MRI scan while the Frame is in place. After that, the patient waits with the frame on, while radiation planning is done. The treatment time can range from an hour to a few hours depending on the age of the radiation source. This results in the patient spending at least half or the entire day in the hospital for the treatment, with the Frame attached most of the day.

Unlike Gamma-knife, patients who undergo Frameless SRS only need to do a planning CT scans (about 30min) a few days before the treatment date and then return after the plan is ready to receive the treatment which is delivered over 15-45 minutes. The reason for the difference lies in speed of the electrical source of the radiation beam and the versatility of the Linear Accelerator machine.

What is the difference between Proton Beam Therapy and Radiosurgery?

Radiosurgery and Proton Beam Therapy are both precision radiation therapies.

Radiosurgery avoids treating normal tissue by sophisticated beam shaping and modulation, while Proton Beam avoids treating normal tissue by reducing dose deposition during the exit of the beam. They can be used in combination, depending on the location of the target and the diagnosis of the patient. For more information on Proton Beam Therapy, click here