Gamma Knife surgery, sometimes referred to as stereotactic radiosurgery, is a non-invasive method for treating brain disorders. It is the targeted delivery of a single, high dose of radiation to the tumor or abnormality in the brain without a surgical incision or opening of the skull. It is preferred for its extreme accuracy, efficiency, and outstanding therapeutic response.
How it Works
With very few exceptions, Gamma knife surgery is given on a single occasion and without general anesthesia. During the procedure, about 200 radiation beams from cobalt-60 sources converge with high accuracy on the target. Each individual beam has low intensity and therefore does not affect the tissue through which it passes on its way to the target. The beams converge at a target volume (the three-dimensional area to receive treatment) where the cumulative radiation intensity becomes extremely high. By moving the patient’s head in relation to the beams’ target volume, the radiation dose can be optimized in relation to the shape and size of the target.
- Gamma knife spares patients the invasive techniques of surgery and/or chemotherapy.
- After Gamma knife surgery, the patient normally leaves the hospital on the same day or the day after, making it a cost effective alternative to open surgery.
- Gamma knife results in little to no patient discomfort, and patients can return to normal activities quickly, sometimes within one day.
The extreme precision of the Gamma knife, better than 0.5mm, makes it possible for physicians to administer a high radiation dose to the lesion with minimal risk of damaging healthy tissue for the patient.
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