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Stereotactic Radiosurgery

First in Virginia to Earn Rigorous Novalis Certification for Stereotactic Radiosurgery Treatment

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The Mary Washington Healthcare Regional Cancer Center (RCC) has introduced Stereotactic Radiosurgery (SRS) to the Fredericksburg region. We are the only cancer center offering this procedure within a 60-mile radius and only one of 12 worldwide using this highly advanced level of SRS technology.

SRS is managed by the Regional Cancer Center's experienced physicians experienced in radiation therapy, neurosurgery, and thoracic surgery.

One of the most recent major medical advances in fighting cancer, SRS has revolutionized brain and lung cancer treatments. It's unusual for a regional cancer center to offer such a high level of cancer treatment. This level of radiation therapy is typically only found in large metropolitan areas, and academic healthcare centers.

SRS is performed using the Varian TrueBeam™ system, the most advanced radiation technology. TrueBeam and SRS are offered at the Mary Washington Hospital Radiation Oncology center located in the new cancer services building on the Mary Washington Hospital campus.

SRS is a non-surgical procedure for patients who need very precise targeting when radiation therapy or invasive surgery poses too significant a risk for damaging surrounding tissue or organs, a complication most often found in brain and lung cancer. It is also highly effective in treating difficult-to-reach tumors in the brain and lungs.

Mary Washington Healthcare insurance information

Novalis Radiosurgery Program Benefits

As one of the most advanced cancer treatment options available, Novalis Radiosurgery Program is changing the face of cancer treatment, and has already helped thousands of people continue to go to work, spend time with family and friends, and take part in their favorite activities, all while fighting cancer. It has been specifically designed to offer a precise, fast, personalized and non-invasive treatment so that patients can benefit from a more comfortable treatment experience.


  • Shapes the cancer-fighting radiation beam around your tumor or lesion, ensuring that the maximum prescribed dose of high-energy radiation is delivered to the entire tumor or lesion
  • Protects surrounding healthy tissue
  • Adapts treatment to your breathing and other body movements so that radiation delivery is always safe, complete and accurate


  • Delivers treatment in as little as 15-20 minutes for a more comfortable treatment experience when compared with other radiosurgery treatment options
  • Reduces the likelihood of body or tumor movements, ensuring that treatment is delivered with the highest possible accuracy
  • Offers one-time treatment or a series of treatments based on your doctor’s recommendation


  • Flexible treatment options ensure that you receive the best treatment for your condition
  • Delivers one of the highest dose rates to treat tumors deep inside the body or brain
  • Offers hope to those with conditions once considered untreatable and for whom surgery is not an option


  • Frameless radiosurgery offers you a more comfortable and non-invasive alternative to other radiosurgery systems which require immobilization with a head ring that attaches to the skull.

Mary Washington Healthcare Physicians Specializing in SRS Treatment

Lead radiation oncology physician, John C. Chinault, MD, offers a uniquely beneficial advantage: an earlier career as a physicist compelled him to earn his MD in radiation oncology. He was instrumental in bringing SRS to the region.

J. Timothy Sherwood, MD, fellowship-trained thoracic surgeon, works with patients on the lung cancer procedure.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Types of Conditions Can Be Treated With Novalis Radiosurgery?

Novalis radiosurgery treats non-cancerous and cancerous conditions including:

  • Acoustic neuromas
  • Arteriovenous malformations (AVM)
  • Brain metastases/gliomas
  • Cavernous angiomas
  • Craniopharyngiomas
  • Intractable seizures
  • Liver tumors/metastases
  • Lung tumors/metastases
  • Meningiomas of the skull base
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Pituitary adenomas
  • Prostate cancer/metastases
  • Recurrent brain tumors
  • Spine tumors/metastases
  • Trigeminal neuralgia
How Does Novalis Radiosurgery Work?

Novalis radiosurgery consists of a high-tech radiation delivery system powered by innovative, sophisticated image-guidance and motion management tools. This state-of-the-art system rotates around you, from many different angles, delivering the cancer-fighting shaped treatment beams where they’re needed. The image-guidance and motion management tools provide your doctors with detailed information about the shape, size and position of your tumor, they also guide setup and positioning, and monitor your body and tumor motion during treatment.

Why Is Fast Treatment Important?

Fast treatment is more comfortable and reduces the likelihood of body or tumor movements, increasing overall accuracy. In addition to offering one of the fastest treatment times, Novalis radiosurgery continuously tracks your body and tumor motion and automatically adjusts the beam of radiation, maintaining the highest possible level of treatment accuracy.

What Is the Treatment Advantage of Novalis Radiosurgery Program?

Other radiosurgery systems use circular beams of radiation to treat tumors and lesions. Most tumors or lesions are irregular in shape so the circular dose cannot completely conform to their exact shape. Shaping the beam precisely to the patient's tumor provides further reduced radiation dosages to healthy tissue surrounding the tumor. The radiation beam also adapts to your breathing and other body movements to continuously maintain safe, complete and accurate treatment.

Undergoing treatment for a tumor or lesion can be challenging, that’s why Novalis radiosurgery is treatment designed with you in mind. Treatments are fast, lasting only minutes, and you wear a frameless custom-fit mask rather than an invasive head ring.

Will There Be Any Side Effects?

Your doctor will discuss potential side effects with you depending on your overall treatment plan. Novalis radiosurgery treatment is not painful in most cases and does not require anesthesia. Typically, there is no scarring or disfigurement and little risk of infection, compared to conventional surgery.

While side effects are minimized, you may experience a headache, dizziness and fatigue immediately following treatment, so driving is not recommended. Make sure to arrange for transportation home.

What Affect Can Radiation Have On My Tumor or Lesion?

Radiosurgery and radiotherapy use high-energy treatment beams to deliver the prescribed dose directly to your tumor cells, causing them to die. Treatment results, visible on follow-up scans, may include shrinkage of your tumor or no further tumor growth. Because cell destruction and absorption of those cells within your system can be a lengthy process, it may take up to six months before your doctor can determine the effect of treatment.

What Is the Difference Between Stereotactic Radiosurgery and Fractionated Stereotactic Radiotherapy?

Stereotactic radiosurgery and fractionated stereotactic radiotherapy refer to two treatment delivery methods. Stereotactic radiosurgery delivers a high dose of treatment to the tumor or lesion in a single session. Fractionated stereotactic radiotherapy delivers a series of treatments to the tumor or lesion over a period of time.

While both methods typically involve a similar total dose, fractionated stereotactic radiotherapy delivers treatment in smaller amounts. Novalis radiosurgery offers both stereotactic radiosurgery and fractionated stereotactic radiotherapy treatments. Your doctor will recommend the best treatment method for you based on your individual case.

Helpful Terms

Benign Tumor – An abnormal growth that is not cancer and does not spread to other areas of the body.

Brachytherapy – Form of radiation therapy in which radioactive materials are implanted.

Cancer – A generic term for more than 100 different diseases that are characterized by the uncontrolled, abnormal growth of cells. Cancer cells usually invade and destroy normal tissue. Cancer cells can travel through the bloodstream lymphatic system to reach other parts of the body.

Carcinoma – A cancerous tumor originating in epithelial cells (the surface cells of tissues). Carcinomas tend to spread into surrounding tissues and to metastasize to other parts of the body.

Chemotherapy – Treatment with toxic chemicals (e.g., anti-cancer drugs).

Computed Tomography (CT) – A form of X-Ray imaging in which 2D sections of a patient’s anatomy are reconstructed from X-Rays projected through the body from many different angles. CT images display sharp contrast based upon tissue density, and exhibit high spatial accuracy.

Conformal Radiosurgery – Involves geometrically shaping the beam so that the beam’s contour corresponds to the shape area in the beam’s eye view. The beam generally delivers consistent dose across the targeted area.

Dosimetrist – A member of the radiation oncology team who helps develop the patient’s treatment plan and performs calculations to carry out the radiation dose prescription, in collaboration with the medical physicist and radiation oncologist.

Fractionated Stereotactic Radiotherapy – A series of radiation treatments over a period of time.

Lesion – A change in body tissue.

Malignant Tumor – A mass of cancer cells that may invade surrounding tissues or spread (metastasize) to distant areas of the body.

Radiotherapy – The use of high-energy radiation from X-Rays, gamma rays, neutrons and other sources to treat tumors and destroy cancer cells.

Radiosurgery – A radiation therapy procedure that delivers a large dose of radiation to a tumor over one to five treatment sessions.

Stereotactic Radiosurgery – Radiation treatment of a tumor that is applied in a single session with a high dose of radiation.

Tumor – An abnormal lump or mass of tissue. Tumors can be benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous).

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