Gamma Knife Treatment for Meningiomas 

While meningiomas are benign tumors that often don’t cause symptoms, many people choose to seek treatment instead of active surveillance, especially if their meningioma tumor shows signs of growth. In those cases, Gamma Knife radiosurgery may be the best treatment. During this type of stereotactic radiosurgery, surgeons target the tumor with beams of radiation from outside the body to decrease the blood supply, which starves the tumor and usually stops growth — and may even shrink the tumor. Gamma Knife treatment successfully treats 90 to 95 percent of meningioma patients, typically with just one treatment.

 

Watch a video to learn more about Gamma Knife treatment for meningiomas.

 

 

 

 

What Is Gamma Knife Treatment?

How Gamma Knife Treats Meningiomas

Latest Research on Gamma Knife for Meningiomas

Outcomes and Benefits of Gamma Knife

Who Is a Candidate for Gamma Knife Treatment?

Preparing for Gamma Knife Treatment

Recovery From Gamma Knife Treatment

Follow-up After Gamma Knife Treatment

Why Choose Rocky Mountain Gamma Knife Center?

Does Insurance Cover Gamma Knife Treatment for Meningiomas?

How to Get Gamma Knife Treatment

 Meningioma Infographic_reduced

 Click on the image above to download the infographic

 

What is Gamma Knife Treatment?

Gamma Knife surgery or stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) — which despite its name, isn’t actually a form of surgery, but rather the precisely targeted delivery of radiation beams­ — was developed specifically to treat brain disorders. It has been used successfully on about 50,000 patients around the world since its first introduction in 1967.

Gamma Knife is a noninvasive method for treating meningiomas, as well as acoustic neuromas, trigeminal neuralgia, and metastatic brain tumors. The specialized equipment delivers a single, high dose of irradiation directly to the tumor through the skull. Gamma Knife is often the preferred method of treatment for patients with many types of brain disorders because of its extreme accuracy, efficiency, therapeutic response, minimal recovery time — and there is no risk of bleeding and potential infections. In addition, Gamma Knife’s precise delivery means that only the targeted area of the brain receives radiation, while surrounding healthy tissue remains intact.

Today, Gamma Knife radiosurgery is performed at hundreds of hospitals and clinics worldwide. This unique procedure has an impressive scientific track record with thousands of peer-reviewed medical articles and the greatest clinical acceptance rate of any noninvasive treatment for brain disorders.

 

How Gamma Knife Treats Meningiomas

In Gamma Knife radiosurgery for a meningioma, a neurosurgeon uses computer imagery to direct a precisely focused beam of high-dose radiation to the benign tumor. The radiation interferes with cell reproduction and produces changes within the blood vessels that feed the tumor, which decreases the blood supply over time, virtually starving it.

Gamma Knife radiosurgery is one of the most effective treatments for patients who have been diagnosed with a meningioma. It is particularly useful when meningioma tumors are located around vital structures in the brain, making surgery difficult or risky. Traditionally, tumors 3-4 centimeters in size respond best to Gamma Knife treatment.

For patients with a meningioma, radiosurgery is the least invasive treatment option, often making it the best choice for patients with medical conditions that make traditional surgery risky.

  

Latest Research on Gamma Knife for Meningiomas

Gamma Knife surgery successfully treats 90 to 95 percent of meningioma cases and is particularly useful for meningiomas that involve vital structures in the brain. The majority of meningiomas 3 to 4 centimeters and smaller can be treated with Gamma Knife, so you should consult with a neurosurgeon about whether you’re a candidate for this treatment option. The most relevant research studies include:

Lee, S.; Kwon, D.H.; Kim, C.J.; Kim, J.H. Long-term outcomes following Gamma Knife radiosurgery for small, newly diagnosed meningiomas. Clinical Neurology and Neurosurgery. March 2016.

Kondziolka, D.; Patel, A.D.; Kano, H.; Flickinger, J.C.; Lunsford, L.D. Long-term outcomes after Gamma Knife radiosurgery for meningiomas. American Journal of Clinical Oncology. April 2014.

Zada, G.; Pagnini, P.G.; Yu, C.; Erickson, K.T.; Hirschbein, J.; Zelman, V.; Apuzzo, M.L. Long-term outcomes and patterns of tumor progression after Gamma Knife radiosurgery for benign meningiomas. Neurosurgery. August 2010.

Starke, R.M.; Nguyen, J.H.; Reames, D.L.; Rainey, J.; Sheehan, J.P. Gamma Knife radiosurgery of meningiomas involving the foramen magnum. Journal of Craniovertebral Junction & Spine. January-June 2010.

Jang, C.K.; Jung, H.H.; Chang, J.H.; Chang, J.W.; Park, Y.G.; Chang, W.S. Long-term results of Gamma Knife radiosurgery for intracranial meningioma. Brain Tumor Research and Treatment. October 2015.

 

Outcomes and Benefits of Gamma Knife

Radiosurgery with Gamma Knife, which is actually not surgery but a noninvasive procedure using radiation, is one of the most effective treatments for patients who have been diagnosed with meningioma, a type of benign noncancerous brain tumor. Gamma Knife radiosurgery is particularly useful when meningioma tumors are located around vital structures in the brain, making surgery difficult or risky. Gamma Knife successfully treats 90 to 95 percent of meningioma brain tumors. Traditionally, tumors that are 3-4 centimeters respond best to Gamma Knife treatment.

Benefits of Gamma Knife treatment for meningiomas include:

  • Extreme precision: Allows a powerful dose of radiation to be delivered while causing only minimal damage to healthy surrounding tissue and structures.
  • No incision: Results in fewer complications such as bleeding, infection, or leakage of cerebrospinal fluid.
  • Painless: Requires no general anesthesia, eliminating the related potential side effects.
  • One-time treatment: Performed in a single session, often on an outpatient basis and only occasionally requiring an overnight stay.
  • Quick return to activities: Patients can return to their normal activities almost immediately, with no rehabilitation necessary.
  • Low cost: Most insurance plans cover stereotactic surgery for meningioma tumors.

 

Who Is a Candidate for Gamma Knife Treatment?

Gamma Knife offers many benefits for treating meningioma tumors and is a more effective and safer option than surgery in the following circumstances:

  • Size: The tumor is 3 to 4 centimeters or smaller and is not causing symptoms.
  • Involvement of critical structures: Meningioma involving the optic area, the venous sinuses, or the cavernous sinus (the area that drains deoxygenated blood to the heart from the brain). Meningioma involving the cavernous sinus once presented a surgical challenge. The popular current treatment strategy is to surgically reduce the portion of the tumor that is safely away from the cavernous sinus, wait a few weeks, and then perform radiosurgery on the residual tumor. This approach often provides early relief from tumors affecting the cranial nerves, particularly those controlling the muscles that move the eye.
  • Location: Meningioma very close to vital cranial nerves or in areas of the brain where open surgery to remove them would be too complicated, such as the skull base. If the meningioma is near the optic nerve or chiasm, the real strengths of the Gamma Knife — high accuracy and rapid falloff of the radiation — become critical to the treatment. Gamma Knife superiority in treating targets near the optic nerve/chiasm (5 millimeters or closer) is well-documented in the literature. With the modern low doses now used to treat these tumors, adverse optic treatment reactions are extremely rare.
  • Residual and recurrent: If there is residual meningioma after open surgery or if the meningioma recurs after chemotherapy or standard radiation therapy.

As always, treatment decisions take into account:

  • Patient age and general health
  • Symptoms resulting from the meningioma
  • If the tumor is growing
  • Overall treatment preference

For some elderly patients, a “cautious observation” approach that monitors tumor growth over time with recurrent scans may be the best approach.

If you’re considering Gamma Knife treatment for your meningioma, the neurosurgeons and radiation oncologists at Rocky Mountain Gamma Knife Center will help evaluate if Gamma Knife radiosurgery is right for you based on your medical history.

 

Preparing for Gamma Knife Treatment

Once you contact our office, most patients are able to meet with a Rocky Mountain Gamma Knife neurosurgeon within two or three weeks for an initial consultation. Patients who are candidates for Gamma Knife surgery for meningiomas will undergo pre-procedure imaging. This step helps our neurosurgeons and radiation oncologists determine precisely where to deliver the beam of high-dose radiation during the procedure, which usually takes less than an hour. The night prior to the procedure, patients should refrain from eating or drink anything after midnight.

During radiosurgery for meningiomas:

  • The surgical team will place a box-shaped frame around the patient’s head to restrict movement. Local anesthesia may be used during placement of the frame, which is attached using specially designed devices.
  • Patients receive no general anesthesia, so they are fully awake during treatment. Some patients may receive a light sedative if needed to help them relax.
  • The procedure causes no pain — and patients are not able to see, hear, or feel the radiation being administered.

 

Recovery From Gamma Knife Treatment

After the Gamma Knife procedure for meningioma, the surgical team will remove the head frame and apply sterile dressing to the attachment points. The patient will then be transported to the hospital for a few hours of observation. As the local anesthetic used during frame placement wears off, patients may experience a headache, so we recommend preventive pain medication for patients shortly after they arrive at the hospital.

After Gamma Knife treatment for meningiomas, most patients stay in the hospital for eight to 10 hours. Before being discharged, the care team will ensure that the patient can tolerate food without experiencing nausea and is generally comfortable about returning home. In some cases, based on physician’s orders, patients are admitted for an overnight stay.

Learn more about recovery from Gamma Knife radiosurgery for meningiomas in this video featuring an experienced Gamma Knife nurse.

 

Follow-up After Gamma Knife Treatment

After Gamma Knife surgery for meningiomas, most patients can return to normal activities almost immediately — and many return to work the day after surgery. Based on your individual experience, your physician will let you know how many follow-up visits are needed.

 

Why Choose Rocky Mountain Gamma Knife Center?

As the region’s most experienced stereotactic radiosurgery center, the Rocky Mountain Gamma Knife Center has treated more than 5,300 patients with Gamma Knife. Since 1993, when the team performed Rocky Mountain West’s first-ever Gamma Knife procedure, the center has provided Gamma Knife treatment for meningioma tumors and more than 30 other types of brain conditions.

With 200 combined years of experience treating neurological disorders, our neurosurgeons and radiation oncologists have earned a reputation as experienced leaders in employing Gamma Knife technology. The talented team provides treatment for benign meningiomas and cancerous tumors, especially metastatic melanoma and acoustic neuromas — and they are nationally recognized for their expertise in treating the facial pain known as trigeminal neuralgia.

 

Does Insurance Cover Gamma Knife Treatment for Meningiomas?

Radiosurgery with Gamma Knife for meningiomas is covered by most insurance providers. If you need assistance understanding your coverage or coordinating preauthorizations, our knowledgeable staff is here to help.

 

How to Get Gamma Knife Treatment

For more information about Gamma Knife treatment for meningiomas or if you’d like to talk with a Rocky Mountain Gamma Knife Center nurse, call 303-366-0099 or fill out our online form.

 

Back to top

 

Learn more about meningiomas: click on links below

 
 

 


 

Schedule a Phone Consultation

Fill out this form to request a phone consultation with one of our nurse specialists to discuss your situation and whether you are a candidate for treatment.