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Gamma Knife Surgery

Gamma Knife Radiosurgery

Gamma Knife is a type of radiosurgery, also known as Leksell Gamma Knife commemorating Lars Leksell, who invented the method at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm. It is mainly used to treat brain tumors, but it is also applied for other brain abnormalities, vascular malformations and trigeminal neuralgia.

The procedure comprises of a precise application of gamma rays, with minimal damage to tissues surrounding the tumor. Because of the precision of the highly focused dosage of radiation it is much safer and more efficient than traditional brain surgery.

Radiosurgery is able to alter the DNA of the timorous cells so that they no longer reproduce. The abnormalities treated dissolve gradually, exhibit no growth. The effectiveness of the Gamma Knife Procedure is monitored by MRI scans during intervals.

Gamma Knife Procedure

The purpose of Gamma Knife radiosurgery is to control and destroy the tumor.

The Gamma Knife procedure (also called therapy) consists of administering high-intensity cobalt radiation and concentrating it over a small volume in the patient’s brain. The patient is wearing a helmet surgically fixed to the skull, which sends controlled dose of radiation towards the tumor.

Gamma knife procedure uses advanced diagnostic imaging, a 3D planning software, in order to deliver 192 focused beams to a precise target. Each beam is delivered at a single time, towards a point where all beams converge, sparing the nearby tissue.

Advantages:

  • Gamma Knife procedure is bloodless and painless.
  • It does not result in hairloss.
  • Offers a rapid return to normal activities
  • Has excellent clinical outcomes for a vast range of brain disorders an diseases.

Gamma Knife Surgery

During the procedure the patient does not feel or see the radiation. Only local anesthesia might be necessary because of the typical discomfort caused by a  frame placement on the head, or by the pressure while the pins are inserted.

The steps of the procedure are as follows:

1. The multidisciplinary team reviews the patient’s condition.

2. The specialist attaches a lightweight frame to the patient’s head.

3. Local anesthesia is applied to secure the frame.

4. MRI or CT Imaging is performed to locate the diseased area (in case of malformation, angiography is also required).

5. The treatment planning computer receives the data from the imaging study.

6. The surgery team, composed of a neurosurgeon, a radiation oncologist and a physicist, determines treatment plan, which may take up to two hours.

7. Gamma Knife is activated during 15 minutes.

8. The frame is removed.

Patients stay awake during the procedure, shaving is unnecessary and the follow-up care consists of keeping the head clean from the little bleeding from the pins. Normal pre-surgery lifestyle can continue within few days.

Gamma knife procedure is safe, it does not imply the risks of brain surgery such as hemorrhage, infection or tissue damage.

Depending on the medical condition treated, the positive effects of gamma knife may occur a few days or several months after the radiosurgery.

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