FAQ

Gamma Knife FAQ

What is the Gamma Knife used for?
The Gamma Knife is used to treat small–to medium–sized brain abnormalities such as:

  • Benign and malignant brain tumors
  • Functional disorders such as trigeminal neuralgia
  • Arteriovenous malformations
  • Acoustic Neuromas
  • Meningiomas
  • Brain Metastases

How does it work?

  • Precisely focuses 192 cobalt–60 beams which converge on the target area
  • Special software provides accurate, computerized treatment planning
  • An Automated Positioning System (APS) helps position both the head frame and the patient

What are the benefits of Gamma Knife® surgery?

  • No incision
  • No bleeding
  • Low risk of infection
  • Treatment is painless and no overnight hospital stay is required, unlike traditional surgery
  • No general anesthesia is required
  • Fits your busy life – patients return to normal activities the day after treatment, rather than spending weeks healing and possible follow–up radiation and/or chemotherapy

How Do I Best Determine My Options?
See a specialist who performs a large volume of Gamma Knife treatments. The specialist will be able to advise you on whether the Gamma Knife treatment is right for your particular condition.

What Side Effects are Common?
Some patients experience headaches, skin irritation, nausea, and in superficial lesions, localized loss of hair and mild scalp numbness may occur. Patients who have had large tumors or AVMs are sometimes prescribed medications to control swelling.

Is Gamma Knife treatment covered by most health insurance plans?
Gamma Knife treatment is covered by most insurance plans, including Medicare, managed care plans and indemnity plans. It generally costs less than conventional brain surgery because the treatment time and hospital stay are shorter. Our staff will help you obtain authorization from your insurance provider for treatment.

Will I feel anything during the procedure?
The procedure is completely painless. Some patients may experience mild discomfort due to the placement of the head frame. A local anesthetic and, occasionally, a mild sedative may be administered to help you relax.

Does the radiosurgery work immediately?
This depends on what we are treating. It may take months for you to notice results. During this time, you may still experience symptoms you had prior to treatment.

How long will the treatment take?
This will not be determined until after the planning has been created by physicians following your MRI. We will inform you of the treatment time once this has been complete.

I had a recent MRI, do I need to have another one?
Yes. We need current imaging in order to see what needs to be treated while the head frame is in place. The MRI that we perform is the imaging that is required to do the treatment planning.

When can I eat and drink again?
Once your treatment is complete, we will provide food and beverages for you.

When can I go home?
Your stay is short; in most cases, you go home the same afternoon. At most, you may have an overnight stay.

How soon can I resume my everyday routines?
That is entirely up to you. There are typically no limitations made, so as soon as you feel up to it, feel free to go back to your everyday routine.

How does the Gamma Knife affect tumors?
The Gamma Knife treatment causes the tumor cells to die over time. This will either completely eradicate the tumor or slow its growth.

Will I experience hair loss?
Gamma Knife treatment is non–surgical, so your head will not be shaved. Any subsequent hair loss – if it occurs at all – will be very minor.

What happens when I am discharged?

In most cases, Gamma Knife patients return to normal activities within 24–48 hours of the procedure. All that remains is to schedule subsequent follow–up diagnostic tests to assess the effectiveness of the treatment.

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