5 Common Myths About Gamma Knife Radiosurgery

Pink awareness ribbon against female senior patient visiting a doctor

When someone says you need treatment for a brain tumor or other brain conditions, it’s natural to worry. You might assume that Gamma Knife radiosurgery is painful and will be followed by a lengthy recovery period. The radiosurgery used at Rocky Mountain Gamma Knife Center is pretty simple from the patient’s perspective and is very well tolerated with excellent outcomes. Check out five common myths about the procedure and the truth behind them.



Myth: Gamma Knife radiosurgery is a surgical procedure.

Fact: Gamma Knife radiosurgery is not surgery. It is a treatment that delivers high-dose radiation to a very precise area of the brain. Gamma Knife does not involve any incisions, nor does it require the use of general anesthesia. Rocky Mountain Gamma Knife Center patients remain awake for the entire procedure and go home the same day.


Myth: Gamma Knife radiosurgery isn’t as effective as surgery.

Fact: Gamma Knife radiosurgery is just as effective as traditional brain surgery, has fewer risks, and often is used when surgery is not an option. Developed more than 50 years ago, over 1 million patients have had Gamma Knife radiosurgery since 1968, a number that grows by 80,000 each year. Thousands of research studies have shown the procedure to be as effective or even more effective than other techniques for the treatment of brain tumors, vascular malformations, and facial pain. Some of the risks associated with brain surgery, including bleeding, infection and adverse reaction to anesthesia, are not factors in Gamma Knife treatment.

Myth: Gamma Knife is only used to treat brain cancer.

Fact: Gamma Knife is used in the treatment of several neurological conditions. Rocky Mountain Gamma Knife Center uses the technology to treat:

  • Metastatic brain tumors such as melanoma, breast, lung and colon
  • Malignant melanoma in the brain
  • Meningioma tumors
  • Acoustic Neuromas (Vestibular Schwannomas)
  • Trigeminal neuralgia
  • Pituitary tumors
  • Arterio-venous malformations
  • Other brain abnormalities

Myth: I’ll need to take a lot of time off work to have Gamma Knife radiosurgery.

Fact: Most people who have radiosurgery at Rocky Mountain Gamma Knife Center can return to work in 1-2 days.

Myth: Gamma Knife radiosurgery is experimental and my insurance won’t cover it.

Fact: Gamma Knife has been around for decades and most insurance plans cover it. Developed in 1968, Gamma Knife is not considered experimental or high risk. Medicare and most insurance plans reimburse for radiosurgery with Gamma Knife. The staff at Rocky Mountain Gamma Knife Center can help you get preauthorization from your insurance plan.


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