Gamma Knife Surgery

Gamma Knife Surgery

Why GammaKnife Surgery is carried out?

Gamma Knife surgery is an alternative for the traditional and highly complex brain surgery. Gamma Knife surgery uses radiation therapy in order to target and treat tumors and several other abnormalities present in the brain. The speciality of the Gamma Knife surgery is the special equipment with a focus of as many as 200 small packet beams which collectively form the radiation and are delivered to the site of tumor. Each little beam may not have a considerable effect on the tumor, however, when collectively irradiated, they constitute a strong dose of radiation is delivered to the site where all the beams meet. Gamma Knife may consist of the word “knife”, but there are no cuts or incisions, and it is a minimally invasive procedure, to treat brain cancer cells or tumors in the body through non-invasive procedures. The precision of Gamma Knife radiosurgery is unique as it targets particular areas containing the tumor, Gamma Knife surgery is also comparatively better than the traditional brain surgery as it is less invasive as well as less complicated.

Gamma Knife Treatment Candidacy

Gamma Knife surgery has mostly opted as a radiation treatment during one or more of such following conditions:
•    When a tumor or any other abnormality present in the brain is not accessible through the traditional neurosurgery
•    When a person doesn't have good overall health to undergo standard brain surgery
•    When a person wants a non-invasive treatment 

Gamma Knife surgery is primarily used to treat primary brain tumors, in particular:   

•    Acoustic neuroma/Vestibular Schwannoma
•    Pituitary tumor
•    Craniopharyngioma
•    Glioma
•    Meningioma
•    Hemangioblastoma
•    Glomus jugulare tumor

Additionally, Gamma Knife surgery can also be used to treat:

•    Chordoma
•    Pediatric brain tumors
•    Arteriovenous malformation
•    Trigeminal neuralgia
•    Essential tremor
•    Epilepsy
•    Obsessive-compulsive disorder

Advantages of Gamma Knife Surgery over standard Neurosurgery

There are some advantages of Gamma Knife surgery over other traditional neurosurgery. They are:
•    Gamma Knife surgery procedure does not involve any incisions or pain, in comparison to open brain surgery.
•    You may not need anaesthesia and can be discharged the same day.
•    After the Gamma Knife treatment procedure, you can resume your normal activities.
•    Gamma Knife treatment takes lesser time than conventional neurosurgery.
•    The recovery period is fast and doesn't take additional time.

Gamma Knife Surgery Procedure

Before the Gamma Knife Radiosurgery procedure, the doctor will make you lie down the sliding table, in a way that your head points toward the machine so that your head can be moved towards the opening of the Gamma Knife unit. Using medical imaging devices such as CT scan, the exact location, shape and size of a tumour are analyzed. The surgeon then attaches several pins on your head to create a frame, so that the head is stabilized and there is no unnecessary movement during the Gamma Knife surgery. After this, your head on the sliding bed moves towards the gamma knife unit which consists of a pack of several tiny radiation beams which are delivered on the tumor spot to treat it. The number of treatment sessions that you undergo in the Gamma Knife Radiosurgery will depend on the nature of your tumor. You can be under the Gamma Knife radiation for as less as 15 minutes, or maybe up to a few hours; depending on the location, shape and size of your tumor. 
After the treatment session gets over, the sliding bed will be moved forward away from the Gamma Knife machine.

Gamma Knife Surgery Risks and Complications

There are lesser risks and complications of the Gamma Knife surgery if compared to the traditional neurosurgery, however, there are still a few ones. They are:
•    Swelling
•    A headache and nausea
•    Vision problems
•    Loss of balance