Prior to Gamma Knife treatment, surgeons need to perform one or more preoperative radiological examinations, such as CT scans, MR scans, and angiography to target and map the brain’s problem area– usually located in a deep pocket of the brain that would normally require an invasive surgery in order to access and treat. By surgically attaching a protective helmet to the patient’s skull and positioning him or her in a Gamma Knife machine– a bed that looks similar to a horizontally inclined MRI– surgeons can target 201 of beams of low-level gamma radiation at a focus deep inside the brain, destroying harmful tissue with surgical precision while preserving the healthy brain tissue surrounding it. While complications can arise from the procedure depending upon the condition, they are generally extremely rare, and the non-invasive nature of the surgery makes it exceptionally safe as well as effective.
While Gamma Knife surgery is most commonly performed in the treatment of brain tumors and arteriovenous malformations (‘AVMs’), it can also be effective in eliminating or reducing the symptoms and complications of complex brain and neurological disorders such as trigeminal neuralgia, a condition that affects an estimated 1 in 15,000 people and was formerly known as “the suicide disease” due to the difficulty of its diagnosis and treatment and its lastingly debilitating symptoms. Gamma Knife surgery is also frequently employed as a safe adjunctive therapy to conventional surgery and in cases in which patients may not qualify for conventional surgery due to factors such as illness or age.
Conditions for which the Gamma Knife is considered most effective are:
- Intracranial tumors such as acoustic neuromas, pituitary adenomas, pinealomas, craniopharyngiomas, meningiomas, chordomas, chondrosarcomas, metastases and glial tumors.
- Vascular malformations including arteriovenous malformations.
- Functional disorders such as trigeminal neuralgia.
For more information about Gamma Knife treatment, please speak individually with your physician.