Comprehensive Epilepsy Center

Stereotactic Radiosurgery

Stereotactic radiosurgery is a treatment that uses multiple highly sophisticated radiation beams to destroy epilepsy-causing lesions in the brain. This treatment may be recommended if a tumor in the brain is causing epilepsy and is not able to be safely resected.

After detailed brain mapping, radiation beams are programmed to reach the tumor without damaging healthy tissue in the brain. The radiation destroys the tumor’s DNA cells, preventing the cells’ ability to reproduce and causing the tumor to shrink.

Is my child a candidate?

  • Your child may be a candidate for stereotactic radiosurgery if a nonresectable tumor is causing epileptic activity that is not able to be controlled with medicine.

What testing is needed before surgery?

  • Before surgery, the exact location of the brain where the seizures originate from will need to be identified. This may involve:
    • MRI: An MRI uses large magnets, radio waves and a computer to make images of the inside of the body.
    • CT scan: This test uses a series of X-rays and a computer to create images of the inside of the body. A CT scan shows more detail than a regular X-ray.
    • EEG (outpatient): This test records the brain's electrical activity through sticky pads (electrodes) attached to the scalp.
    • EEG (inpatient): Some patients may require a longer EEG to record electrical activity in which case a stay in the epilepsy monitoring unit will be required.
    • MEG Scan: MEG, or magnetoencephalography, is a noninvasive test used to localize seizures and abnormal activity within the brain using magnetic sensors. MEG can also be used to localize areas of the brain that control motor, sensory and language.

How is the surgery performed?

  • Stereotactic radiosurgery is a noninvasive treatment that involves highly sophisticated radiation beams. Surgeons will first identify the precise location of the tumor through detailed brain mapping. After the safest path for the radiation beams to reach the tumor has been identified, your child will be placed under general anesthesia. Your child will then be placed in a head brace and enter the radiation machine. The beams are programmed so that they cause little to no damage to the healthy tissue they pass through on the way to the tumor. Once the beams reach the tumor, they deliver a high dose of radiation, causing the tumor to shrink. After the procedure, your child may spend another two to three days in the hospital before being released home. Your child should be able to return to normal activity within one to two weeks following the treatment.

What are the results of the surgery?

  • Complications can happen during any surgery and there is no cure for epilepsy. Stereotactic radiosurgery has been proven a safe and effective treatment of brain tumors that cause epilepsy. The technique offers a noninvasive alternative to open brain surgery and resection of tumors. 

To learn more about the Epilepsy Center at Texas Children’s Hospital and to inquire about admissions and patient candidates, please contact 832-822-0959.