So you have been told that you have a tumour of some kind in your brain or another brain issue. That is a scary thing and something that will leave most people thinking about the bad effects of what will happen. Picturing full brain surgeries, loss of hair and an overall bad thought of what can happen during an invasive surgery. Luckily modern medicine has come a long day and for some surgeries you can instead turn into gamma knife surgery.

 So what is the Gamma Knife?

 The name of the device is a little conflicting, it may be called the Gamma knife, but it is not a type of knife at all. In fact the therapy device delivers one single very focused high dose of radiation directly to the target. You do not have to risk the healthy tissue around the abnormality while you attack the abnormality itself in full. The size of what is being treated will depend on how many times you might have to use the Gamma knife or how effective it will be, those items that are 1.5 inches or smaller are the most responsive to the treatment but not the only ones that will respond.

 How does radio surgery work?

The process of radio surgery really starts with the process of finding the abnormality, if it is a relatively small one the process used to find it within the brain is called stereotaxy. This means that Stereotactic radio surgery is performed with the help of a stereotactis head frame that is placed on the skull while the patient is under local anesthesia. Imageingtechniques are then used, including CT scanning, magnetic resonance (MR) imaging, and angiography. When these images are used along with special instruments that are computerized it gives the Doctors the ability to localize the abnormality that must be targeted. When the abnormality has been properly targeted the Gamma beams that are used for the Gamma Knife surgery can be pin pointed perfectly during the procedure.

When a patient comes in for Gamma Knife treatment they will be laid on a couch and made as comfortable as possible. Once they are fully comfortable the procedure can begin. It does not take long and you will not feel any pain or discomfort throughout. If you have any questions about your procedure beforehand make sure you speak with your Doctor directly.

What can be treated with Gamma Knife radio surgery?

Every patient and every abnormality is different but there is a general list of what can be treated and what is easily helped by Gamma Knife

  • Benign brain tumors that grow slowly and do not tend to invade surrounding normal brain tissues, such as meningiomas, acoustic neuromas, pituitary adenomas, craniopharyngiomas, and low-grade astrocytomas
  • Primary or recurrent malignant brain tumors, including glioblastoma and anaplastic astrocytoma
  • Multiple or Solitary brain metastases
  • Arteriovenous malformations (AVMs), dural AV fistulas
  • Recurrent trigeminal neuralgia
  • Epilepsy (some cases)

Any patient who is interested in Gamma knife surgery must meet criteria and be referred by their Doctor. Most patients who are referred are done so initially by their Doctor before they themselves even know what Gamma Knife surgery is. However in the rare case that you have done research before speaking with your Doctor about a treatment plan, keep your information ready. There is never anything wrong with suggesting your own idea for treatment to your Doctor. You want to be as healthy as you can when taking on cancer, so that you can heal your body and mind. If Gamma knife is something that will work for you whether alone or in conjunction with something else you can create the plan.

 

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