Experiencing Radiation with a Frameless Option
Possibly the best way to understand the benefits of frameless stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) is from the perspective of a patient who has experienced both types.
Edward Felten has experienced both the frame-based and frameless SRS procedure for lung cancer that spread to his brain. In Fall 2017, he underwent a successful frame-based SRS procedure.
"When they described the treatment to me I was terrified," Felten recalls. "The idea of having the frame anchored to my skull along with the possible side effects from the frame petrified me. I went to the procedure absolutely scared."
Afterward, Felten said the frame the procedure wasn't as scary as he thought it would be.
"I was lucky I didn't have too much swelling," he said. "But it was a long day. I had this heavy and restrictive frame attached from 6:30am until 6:30pm, and I couldn't go anywhere."
In summer 2018, his radiation oncologist Dr. Andrew Baschnagel found another metastasis in a different location in Felten's brain and recommended another SRS procedure. This time he would use the newly implemented frameless SRS technique.
"Not having to have those anchors in my skull was just wonderful. It was so much less scary and so much more comfortable," Felten says. "They molded the warm plastic to my face, did a CT scan and a half hour later I went home. Two days later, I came back for the procedure, which took about an hour and half. I was as relaxed as I've been for any medical procedure I've ever had."
Lori Hayes, a senior clinical nurse specialist who coordinates treatment of patients who undergo SRS, predicts that other patients will like it, too.
"From a patient's perspective, not having to have a frame attached is an amazing improvement," Hayes says.