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The set-up involves either a plastic mask or a foam body cradle. Either one will help a patient stay in a fixed position during treatment.
For a typical cranial tumor or lesion, a custom-fit plastic mask is made for each patient. With the mask in place, the patient undergoes a CT scan with contrast. In some instances, a MRI scan may be needed.
For extracranial tumor or lesion, a foam body cradle is custom-fit for the individual patient instead of the mask. Most extracranial cases require placement of small metal fiducials prior to treatment set-up. These implanted metal fiducials are 3 to 4 mm long and are used to accurately target the tumor. The patient receives moderate sedation for the fiducials implant procedure.
Since the patient often has CT and MRI appointments on the same day, he or she should plan to be at the hospital for several hours that day. Fiducial placement under moderate sedation will prolong that time frame. The patient should have someone available to drive him or her home at the end of the day.