What is stereotactic spine radiosurgery (SRS)?

Stereotactic spine radiosurgery (SRS) is an innovative, non-invasive treatment option for both malignant and benign tumors located on the spine.

Spine tumors can develop in the bones, nerves, and other tissues that make up the spinal column and cord. They can be benign (non-cancerous) tumors, low-grade malignant (cancerous) tumors that grow slowly, or high-grade tumors that grow aggressively. More than 90 percent of spine tumors are metastatic — they arise from cancers that begin in a different part of the body and can result in painful symptoms requiring invasive treatment procedures.

Stereotactic spine radiosurgery can provide pain relief using a non-surgical, non-invasive procedure that delivers precise radiation to the tumor using a three-dimensional targeting system. This is often the treatment of choice for spine tumors, and can also be part of an integrated treatment plan.

What are the potential effects of spine tumors?

If left untreated, spine tumors can destroy the bones of the spine, which leads to a loss of stability of the spinal column, and often compression of the spinal cord or nerves. This can cause disabling pain, injury to nerves or the spinal cord and ultimately paralysis.

A new treatment option

Early management is essential due to the serious consequences of spine tumors. Beyond analgesics (medications that reduce or eliminate pain), traditional options include surgery, conventional radiation therapy over days or weeks, and chemotherapy. Stereotactic spine radiosurgery can be used as a stand-alone procedure for spine tumors, or in conjunction with other treatments.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 01/31/2019.

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