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Research Medical Center
ER of Brookside

Gamma Knife FAQs

What is the Gamma Knife®?

The Gamma Knife® is a medical device that uses a computer-based technology called stereotactic radiosurgery. There are 201 sources of cobalt 60 photon radiation focused at a specified target while sparing surrounding brain tissue and critical neural and vascular structures.

Which Patients can Benefit from Gamma Knife® Radiosurgery?

  • Patients with vascular malformations such as AVMs or Cavernous Angiomas
  • Patients with benign brain tumors such as acoustic neuromas or meningiomas
  • Patients with newly diagnosed or recurrent malignant primary brain tumors
  • Patients with metastatic brain tumors, which are surgically inaccessible, multiple, or resistant to radiation therapy
  • Patients whose tumors have recurred in spite of previous radiation therapy
  • Patients with trigeminal neuralgia
  • Patients who are high risk surgical candidates because of age or serious medical conditions
  • Patients who seek to avoid the risks of traditional surgery

How are Patients Selected for Gamma Knife® Treatment?

Patient selection is based on an evaluation of patient history, MRIs, diagnostic tests, and other medical records.

What are the Advantages of Gamma Knife® Surgery?

  • Used safely for over 30 years
  • Non-invasive
  • Extreme precision
  • Excellent clinical outcomes
  • Surgical and post surgical risks are eliminated
  • Decreased hospital stay from one week to less than one day
  • ½ to 1/3 the cost of conventional neurosurgery

Is Gamma Knife® Treatment Safe?

Gamma Knife® radiosurgery reduces the risk of complications for many difficult-to-treat disorders such as deep tumors nd AVMs. Most patients undergoing Gamma Knife® treatment spend one day in the hospital, as compared to seven days for conventional surgery.

How Long Does it Take for Results to Become Apparent?

Response times can vary from months to several years depending upon the type of problem being treated. The effectiveness of the treatment is monitored by MRI scans at regular intervals. Whereas the goal of conventional brain tumor surgery is compete removal of the tumor, the goal of radiosurgery is tumor control, which is defined as stable tumor size or tumor shrinkage.