Stereotactic Radiosurgery Center

Our Program

The USC Stereotactic Radiosurgery Center at Keck Medical Center of USC in Los Angeles provides an innovative, outpatient-based surgical method for treating tumors of the brain and spine. The center utilizes the most effective radiation oncology treatments available, including TrueBeam™ Stx. All of these procedures are conducted without an incision or general anesthesia, and without the need for a hospital stay.

Stereotactic is a three-dimensional positioning and measurement system. Radiosurgery is a specialized form of treatment that allows for precise delivery of radiation to a target. The target is treated with similar precision as a surgeon would in a surgery, and radiosurgery can treat tumors without significant damage to surrounding tissues.

Our Approach

We have been among the pioneers of radiosurgical treatments for the past several decades. Our program remains in the forefront of innovative applications of radiosurgical treatments for brain, spine and systemic diseases.

Using a team approach toward diagnostics and treatment of patients with brain and spine tumors, our multidisciplinary team offers patients the most advanced and sophisticated radiosurgical treatments. Every week, neurosurgeons, radiation oncologists and experienced physicists meet to determine the best treatment options for our patients. The specialists in the program, who include physicians at Keck Hospital of USC and the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, have performed thousands of procedures using TrueBeam™ Stx. When used appropriately, these radiosurgical technologies are very safe complements to conventional surgery and chemotherapy.

Our physicians are able to provide patients with the best possible course of treatment. Each technology is designed to support more favorable results, while minimizing both side effects and length of treatment.

Many of the innovations in stereotactic surgery were invented or refined at Keck Medicine of USC. Additionally, our physicians helped create resting frames for the head and other equipment that made navigation through the skull, brain and spine more precise during procedures.


The USC Stereotactic Radiosurgery Center at Keck Medical Center of USC is considered one of the nation’s leading centers for incision-free techniques in the treatment of brain and spine tumors. The team has published results showing more than 95% tumor control over five years.


The main technique in the USC Stereotactic Radiosurgery Center — TrueBeam™ Stx — is used for radiosurgery on well-defined solid tumors in the brain and spinal cord. Some procedures are conducted directly on tumors that have been diagnosed, while other procedures are conducted to treat remnants of tumors or residual areas of tumors after traditional surgery.
Radiation therapy uses high energy radiation to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors by damaging the cell’s DNA, making it impossible for these cells to continue to grow and divide. The radiation directly damages the cell’s DNA, or alternatively, creates free radicals within the cell that cause damage to the DNA. Since radiation can also harm the DNA of healthy cells, the radiation oncologist must ensure that each treatment plan be devised and implemented to minimize the exposure of normal tissue during radiation therapy.

Types of disorders treated:
Meningeal tumors – Can stop growth of brain and spinal meningiomas for decades
Trigeminal Neuralgia – Can reduce the pain and the need for medication in 70% of cases
Arteriovenous Malformations – Can obliterate AVMs in 80% of cases
Metastatic tumors – Can suppress regrowth of tumors in the spine and brain that have spread from the original tumor site

Treatments and Services

The USC Stereotactic Radiosurgery Center at Keck Medical Center of USC in Los Angeles offers radiation therapy either alone or in conjunction with surgery and/or chemotherapy. Our stereotactic (a three-dimensional positioning and measurement system) radiosurgery program offers the following service:

The TrueBeam™ Stx radiotherapy system is a non-invasive system that delivers powerful radiation to even more precise areas than possible with other technologies, in the head and neck, lung, liver and other areas. The TrueBeam™ Stx system can target tumors and other disorders in areas close to critical structures in the body and direct a precise beam of radiation without harming those structures. In addition, a treatment of radiation therapy using the TrueBeam™ Stx system can take just a few minutes, minimizing patient discomfort.

Patient Information

What to Expect

All stereotactic radiosurgery procedures at Keck Medical Center of USC in Los Angeles are done on an outpatient basis. Hospital stays are brief, if they are necessary at all. For most patients, the procedure requires a half-day commitment in one or multiple sessions.

For the TrueBeam™ Stx treatment, patients will consult with their doctors and the stereotactic radiosurgery team to plan their procedure. Upon arrival for the procedure, they will receive a sedation anesthesia, but will remain conscious. When the patient is ready for the surgery, the patient is fitted with a stereotactic head frame, which serves as a measuring guide and helps keep the head in a fixed position to assure maximum treatment accuracy. The frame’s external axis is used to determine coordinates for targeting the tumor or lesion.

After the frame is attached, the patient receives an MRI, CT or angiographic scan. Data from the imaging study is transferred into the state-of-the-art treatment planning computer, which enables the treatment team (a neurosurgeon, radiation oncologist, radiation physicist and technicians) to tailor distribution of the radiation dose to conform specifically to the mass and size of the tumor or lesion. Completing the treatment plan takes one to two hours, depending on the complexity and location of the disease.

Most patients experience minimal recovery time and can return to normal activities almost immediately.


Clinical Trials
Patients have the option of taking part in clinical trials being conducted at Keck Medical Center of USC and our affiliate locations. While clinical trial participation does not ensure that an effective treatment will be received, participation does help provide invaluable information for future treatments, and possibly a cure in the future.

Learn about neurosurgery clinical trials using stereotactic radiotherapy techniques at Keck Medicine of USC in Los Angeles here:

Stereotactic Radiosurgery or Whole-Brain Radiation Therapy in Treating Patients with Brain Metastases That Have Been Removed By Surgery.

Stereotactic Radiation Therapy With or Without Whole-Brain Radiation Therapy in Treating Patients with Brain Metastases.

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