Gamma Knife Radiosurgery

What Is It?

Developed more than 30 years ago, the gamma knife is a sophisticated instrument that allows brain surgery to be performed without a scalpel. A non-invasive alternative to open brain surgery, the gamma knife eliminates the risk of surgical complications to the brain.

The gamma knife delivers radiation through 201 evenly distributed portals, and targets tumors or vascular malformations with three-dimensional precision, allowing the physicians of Cancer Treatment Group to treat previously inoperable lesions. The beams of radiation are focused on the abnormal tissue.  Each of the individual beams provides a relatively small, harmless dose of radiation yet, when the beams converge on the target, the radiation is very powerful.

The patient wears a lightweight head frame that attaches to a helmet, through which the beams of gamma radiation are precisely focused at the target. Only the tissue being treated receives the very strong dose of radiation, so the impact to the surrounding tissue is minimized.

Local anesthesia and mild sedation are usually used to perform the painless, bloodless procedure.  While the entire procedure may take several hours, the actual treatment (application of the gamma radiation) takes just 15 minutes to an hour. The time it takes depends on the size and location of the lesion or tumor being treated.

Used on more than 40,000 adults and children worldwide each year, gamma knife radiosurgery can be used alone or in addition to other therapies such as brain surgery, interventional neuroradiology, conventional radiation therapy, or chemotherapy.

Benefits of Gamma Knife Surgery

  • non-invasive—does not require any cutting or shaving of your hair
  • no hospitalization required
  • no surgical complications
  • treatment is silent and painless
  • technology is specifically designed for the brain
  • cost-effective and reimbursed by all insurance companies
  • appropriate to treat brain metastasis, primary brain tumors, acoustic neuromas, arteriovenous malformation, meningiomas, trigeminal neuralgia, and pituitary adenomas