Discharge Instructions After Stereotactic Radiosurgery to the Brain

This information explains your discharge instructions after your stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) to the brain.

Please follow the instructions below:

  • Your caregiver must take you home after your treatment. You are not allowed to drive.
  • An adult should stay with you for the first 24 hours after your treatment.
  • You can resume most of your normal activities the following day. Ask your  doctor or nurse when you can resume vigorous exercise.

Brain Swelling

Some patients develop brain swelling  in the area that was treated.

  • If your doctor thinks this is a risk for you, you will get a prescription for dexamethasone (Decadron®). It reduces the risk of swelling. If you are already taking it, the dose may be changed after your treatment. Your nurse will tell you to begin taking it either the first evening after your treatment or the following morning.
  • If you will be taking dexamethasone, we will give you a schedule that explains how much to take each day and how to slowly reduce the dose over time. Check the date you are scheduled to begin reducing it and follow the schedule carefully. The schedule may need to be adjusted if you have symptoms.

Call your doctor if you have any of the following symptoms of brain swelling:

  • A headache that does not go away with acetaminophen (Tylenol®)
  • Unsteadiness when walking
  • Seizures
  • Changes in vision
  • Vomiting or nausea
  • Worsening of your original symptoms
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Caring for Your Pin Sites If You Had Framed SRS

  • There may be a small amount of drainage from the pin sites the first night after your treatment. Call your doctor if the drainage soaks any of the bandages (Band-Aids®) or dressing so much that you have to change it.
  • The day after your treatment, remove the bandages or dressing, shower, and wash your hair.
  • To prevent an infection in the skin where the pins held the head frame in place:
    • Apply a small amount of bacitracin twice a day until the pin sites have healed.
    • Leave the area open to the air. Do not put the bandages back on.
    • Call your doctor if you develop redness, swelling, or drainage from the pin sites.
  • You may see swelling around the pin sites and around your eyes for several days after your treatment. This is from the numbing medication that was injected. You can put cool compresses on the area for comfort. Do this by placing a clean washcloth under cool running water. Place it on the area for 20 to 30 minutes, 4 times a day.
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Follow-up Care

We will schedule a follow-up visit with your radiation oncologist. You will have a follow-up magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) about 6 to 8 weeks after your treatment. You will get these appointment dates before you are discharged.

We will call you the day after your treatment to see how you are doing. We will answer any questions you may have and review your discharge instructions.

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