You received stereotactic radiosurgery or radiotherapy, a form of radiation therapy that focuses high-powered x-rays onto a small area.
You may have a headache or feel dizzy after your treatment.
If you had pins that held a frame in place, they will be removed before you go home.
You may feel some discomfort where the pins used to be. Bandages may be placed over the pin sites.
You can wash your hair after 24 hours.
Do not use hair coloring, perms, gels, or other hair products until the sites where the pins were placed are completely healed.
If you had anchors placed, they will be taken out when you have received all of your treatments. While the anchors are in place:
Clean the anchors and the surrounding skin 3 times a day.
Do not wash your hair while the anchors are in place.
A scarf or a lightweight hat may be worn to cover the anchors.
When the anchors are removed, you will have small wounds to care for. Do not wash your hair until any staples are removed.
Do not use hair coloring, perms, gels, or other hair products until the sites where the anchors were placed are completely healed.
Watch the areas where the anchors are still in place or where they were removed for redness and drainage.
Most people go back to their regular activities the next day, if there are no complications such as swelling. Some people are kept in the hospital overnight for monitoring. You may develop black eyes during the week after surgery, but it’s nothing to worry about.
You should be able to eat normal foods after your treatment. Ask your doctor about when to return to work.
You will most likely need to have an MRI, CT scan or angiogram a few weeks or months after the procedure. Your doctor or nurse will schedule your follow-up visit.
When to Call the Doctor
Call your doctor if you have:
Redness, drainage, or worsening pain at the spot where the pins or anchors were placed
A fever that lasts more than 24 hours
A headache that is very bad or one that does not get better with time
Problems with your balance
Weakness in your arms or legs
Any changes in your strength, sensation of the skin, or thinking (confusion, disorientation)
Ewend MG, Morris DE, Carey LA, Ladha AM, Brem S. Guidelines for the initial management of metastatic brain tumors: role of surgery, radiosurgery, and radiation therapy. J Natl Compr Canc Netw. 2008 May;6(5):505-13;
Romanelli P, Anschel DJ. Radiosurgery for epilepsy. Lancet Neurol. 2006;5:613-620.
Sneed PK, Kased N, Huang K, Rubenstein JL. Brain metastases and neoplastic meningitis. In: Abeloff MD, Armitage JO, Niederhuber JE, Kastan MB, McKena WG, eds. Clinical Oncology. 4th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Elsevier Churchill Livingstone; 2008:chap 52.
Daniel B. Hoch, PhD, MD, Assistant Professor of Neurology, Harvard Medical School, Department of Neurology, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.