What is Gamma Knife Radiosurgery?

Gamma Knife radiosurgery is a single-session delivery of ionizing radiation to a small to moderate tumor (or lesion). The technology employed and the manner in which the radiation is delivered, significantly reduces the chance of damaging the surrounding healthy brain tissues.

What is the goal of Gamma Knife Radiosurgery?

The goal of Gamma Knife radiosurgery is to improve local tumor (lesion) control by disrupting genetic material which regulates fluids in the cell that are needed to provide growth and cell division.

What conditions can Gamma Knife Radiosurgery treat?

Gamma Knife Radiosurgery can treat single or multiple small to moderate sized brain tumors both primary and metastatic, cranial nerve lesions (eg. Acoustic schwannomas, trigeminal neuromas), Pituitary tumors, arteriovenous malformations and functional disorders (eg. Trigeminal neuralgia, cluster headache and parkinson’s disease).

Why does Gamma Knife Radiosurgery use a head frame?

The most precise way to target a lesion in the brain is to prevent head movement. Application of the head frame assures this.

What side effects can I expect from Gamma Knife Radiosurgery?

Typically, side effects from the Gamma Knife are minor. Patients may experience a headache from the pin sites for about 24 hours following Gamma Knife Radiosurgery. You may also get some mild swelling of your forehead and eyelids. You may experience some fatigue for two or three days, however most patients are able to return to their normal routine within a day or two. Other possible side effects may occur weeks or months later as the area treated responds to the radiation. These will be discussed on an individual basis prior to treatment.

What is done to provide continuity of care?

Gamma Knife treatment plans are sent to referring and consulting physicians with follow-up recommendations. Your neurosurgeon will inform you when he wants you to make a follow-up visit and when he will need you to have follow-up MRI’s and/or CT scans. If other studies or tests are needed your neurosurgeon will let you know.

How long can I expect to be in the hospital if I am having Gamma Knife Radiosurgery?

Typically, a patient can expect to spend approximately 8 hours total in the hospital. Occasionally, the physician may want you to spend the night. You may also prefer to spend the night and that can certainly be accommodated.

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