Gamma Knife® is a type of stereotactic radiosurgery used to treat brain and spine tumours. Radiosurgery is a technique that uses the effectiveness of open brain surgery with the non-invasive nature of high-dose radiation to kill cancer cells with minimal damage to healthy tissues. ‘Stereotactic’ radiosurgery involves directing high-dose radiation to a specific point using an external frame of reference (the head frame).
Since this procedure is non-invasive, it reduces the risks associated with conventional open brain surgery commonly used for treating brain tumours. Gamma Knife® uses computerised treatment planning software to detect, locate and irradiate small tumours in the brain and spinal cord with a high level of precision.
Apart from the brain and upper spine tumours, the Gamma Knife® is also used to treat other benign brain lesions like pituitary adenoma, vestibular schwannoma, meningioma, a few vascular conditions and trigeminal neuralgia. The Gamma Knife® has also been shown to treat metastatic cancers effectively.
The Gamma Knife® is used to treat brain and spine tumours that include:
Apart from tumours, Gamma Knife® is also used in the treatment of other brain disorders like:
Not every patient or tumour is treated using a Gamma Knife®. Some factors that are used to evaluate a patient’s suitability for Gamma Knife® treatment include:
Your doctor and healthcare team will first prefer less invasive treatment options based on your tumour before opting for a gamma knife. A Gamma Knife® treatment may be preferred if:
Gamma Knife® treatment is not recommended for tumours larger than 4 to 5 cm in size.
The Gamma Knife® radiosurgery is an outpatient procedure and may take around four to five hours, depending on your lesion. A typical Gamma Knife® treatment procedure will involve the following steps:
Gamma Knife® treatment is non-invasive and may be preferred over conventional surgery due to its high safety. Some benefits of using Gamma Knife® treatment include:
Gamma Knife® is a highly safe procedure performed by trained healthcare professionals. However, the treatment may cause minor side effects in some people:
There may be swelling in the operated area in some rare cases that may require additional treatment. But in most cases, the patients can resume their work and routine immediately the next day.
If you have been advised to undergo Gamma Knife® treatment for your brain or spine tumour, discuss any concerns you have with your doctor.