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Symptomatic radionecrosis after postoperative but not preoperative stereotactic radiosurgery in a single patient: illustrative case

Bryce J Laurin, Michael Straza, George Noid, Jennifer M Connelly, Wade M Mueller, Joseph Bovi, and Max O Krucoff


Standard of care for brain metastases involves stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS). For cases that also require surgery because of lesion size, edema, or neurological symptoms, whether to provide pre- or postoperative SRS has become a prevalent debate.


Herein, the unique case of a patient with brain metastases of the same pathology and similar size in two different brain locations at two different times is described. The patient underwent surgery with preoperative SRS for the first lesion and surgery with postoperative SRS for the second lesion. Although both treatments resulted in successful local control, the location that received postoperative SRS developed symptomatic and rapidly progressive radiation necrosis (RN) requiring a third craniotomy.


Large randomized controlled trials are ongoing to compare pre- versus postoperative SRS for the treatment of symptomatic brain metastases (e.g., study NRG-BN012). Recent interest in preoperative SRS has emerged from its theoretical potential to decrease rates of postoperative RN and leptomeningeal disease. This valuable case in which both therapies were applied in a single patient with a single pathology and similar lesions provides evidence supportive of preoperative SRS.