Novalis Tx Radiosurgery FAQ
at Palomar Medical Center

Why is fast treatment important?

There are two reasons why short treatment times can be important—treatment accuracy and patient comfort. The length of treatments with some devices can be extreme, lasting an hour or more, during which the patient must lie as still as possible. Prolonged treatment times can make the entire process even more stressful, and some physicians recommend practicing meditation during the procedure or even prescribe a sedative. Reducing the treatment time also minimizes the time where the patient may make small movements that can affect the overall accuracy of the treatment.

Novalis Tx is optimized for the fastest treatment delivery, improving both patient comfort and treatment accuracy. A Novalis Tx treatment or fraction typically lasts only 15-20 minutes. Throughout treatment, Novalis Tx continuously tracks any micro patient movement and allows for automatic adjustment, ultimately increasing the level of accuracy.

What is the advantage of shaped beam radiosurgery?

Traditionally, circular beams are used for radiosurgery. The resulting dose of such an approach is a spherical dose volume. As most lesions are very irregular in shape, several of those spherical dose volumes have to be composed together to cover the complex tumor shape. Other systems try to move the circular beam to “paint” the dose into the tumor volume over a time. Both approaches are time consuming and do not ideally tailor the dose to the exact shape of the tumor. This can result in lower than desired irradiation to parts of the tumor and higher than desired irradiation to healthy tissue. Novalis Tx has set a new standard with the most precise beam shaping technology available, shaping each treatment beam to contour the exact shape of the tumor and avoiding normal tissue with highly accurate and homogeneous doses.

What should I expect at my treatment session?

You do not need to bring special clothing or equipment to the hospital for treatment with Novalis Tx, but you may want to dress comfortably and bring a book or something else to keep you busy during any waiting periods that may be required. You may also bring a friend or a relative with you and he / she may stay with you during the day. However, during the actual treatment procedure, your companion will have to leave the treatment room. Please make sure to arrange for transportation home as you might feel tired after the treatment; driving is not recommended. Novalis Tx allows a complete treatment session to take place in a single-day, although your doctor will decide if your treatment should be administered in a single dose.

What effect is the radiation likely to have on my disease?

With radiosurgery and radiotherapy, high-energy radiation beams aim to destroy tumor cells by damaging the cells and causing them to die. Visible results, as seen on a follow-up scan, might include shrinkage of the tumor or the cessation of further tumor growth. Because cell destruction and the absorption of the cells within your system is a lengthy process, it can take up to six months before the effect of the treatment is visible on a follow-up image.

Will there be any side effects?

The procedure itself is not painful. Side effects that you might experience immediately following treatment include headache and dizziness. Your doctor will discuss with you specific side effects that may occur depending on your overall treatment plan.

What is radiotherapy?

Radiation therapy, or radiotherapy, is the use of high-energy radiation from x-rays, gamma rays, neutrons, and other sources to destroy cancer cells and shrink tumors. Radiation may come from a machine outside the body (external-beam radiation therapy), or it may come from radioactive material placed in the body near cancer cells (internal radiation therapy, implant radiation, or brachytherapy). Systemic radiation therapy uses a radioactive substance, such as a radiolabeled monoclonal antibody, that circulates throughout the body. Fractionated radiotherapy is administered in a series of treatment sessions over a specified period of time.

What is radiosurgery?

Radiosurgery is a radiation therapy procedure that uses a special system to precisely deliver a large radiation dose to a tumor over one to five treatment sessions. The goal of this non-invasive procedure is to destroy the target without surgery or harming nearby healthy tissue. It is used to treat various types of cancer such as tumors in the brain, spine, lung, liver and prostate as well as some other non-cancerous disorders. It is also called radiation surgery, stereotactic externalbeam radiation, stereotactic radiation therapy, stereotactic radiosurgery, and stereotaxic radiosurgery.

What is the difference between stereotactic radiosurgery and fractionated stereotactic radiotherapy?

Radiation treatment of a tumor can either be applied in a single session with a high dose of radiation, also known as stereotactic radiosurgery, or in a series of treatments over a period of time, known as fractionated stereotactic radiotherapy. Fractionated radiotherapy involves similar total doses of radiation as radiosurgery, but the radiation is delivered in smaller amounts.

Fractionated stereotactic radiotherapy allows the healthy tissue to recover from the impact of the radiation before the next treatment session. Novalis Tx offers both stereotactic radiosurgery and fractionated stereotactic radiotherapy treatments. Unlike some systems, Novalis Tx can provide a very high number of fractions, which, studies have shown, are necessary for the best treatment of some tumors, protecting more healthy tissue. This is particularly true for tumors near auditory nerves, and the ability to spread the treatment over enough fractions can provide better treatment outcomes and preserve the patient’s hearing. Your doctors will recommend the technique most appropriate for you, depending on the size and location of your tumor.

What is the procedure for treatment for the following tumors and lesions:

 

 

Do you have questions about Novalis Radiosurgery at PMC? Visit our Novalis Radiosurgery System FAQs page, Contact Us, Find our Location(s) or visit the San Diego Radiosurgery site!