Rebound’s brain and spine neurosurgery team uses the latest technology and equipment to deliver surgical treatment to its patients. Our board-certified neurosurgeons use two forms of stereotactic radiosurgery to treat neurological disorders and cancer. This technology provides an alternative to invasive surgery with risk of minimal complications. Learn more about one of our state-of-the-art procedures from Rebound neurosurgeon, Dr. Ashok Modha.
What is Gamma Knife?
Gamma Knife is a type of radiosurgical tool used to eliminate brain tumors without incisions by delivering 192 beams of radiation. Considered one of the most advanced radiosurgical tools of its kind, Gamma Knife also treats other neurological disorders, like brain lesions, brain tumors, and other diseases of the brain.
“Gamma Knife is used to treat brain tumors and neurological conditions,” says Dr. Modha. “It’s often referred to as the ‘gold standard’ of technology for treating brain cancer and illnesses.”
How Long is the Gamma Knife Procedure?
This form of radiation therapy is performed in a single session, and multiple areas may be treated during that session without a need for an overnight hospital stay. Gamma Knife is often a preferred alternative to invasive surgeries that involve incision.
Is There Pain Involved?
“The name is very misleading, because a knife or an incision is not involved. We instead deliver a high, precise dose of gamma radiation to the affected site of the brain,” says Dr. Modha. “Because incision, or ‘open surgery’, isn’t involved, the risk of complications is very minimal, as are side effects and pain.”
Also unlike open surgery, there is no need for the patient to shave the area of the head being treated.
How is the Procedure Performed?
Before the procedure begins, the patient is fitted with a frame that keeps his or her head still during the procedure. The procedure is performed while the patient is lying down. This frame allows the surgeon to accurately focus the radiation on the treatment site.
Using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computerized tomography (CT) and advanced computer software, our team is able to locate the tumor, lesion or affected site and determine the precise amount of radiation needed. The patient’s head remains secured and immobilized as the surgeon focuses the Gamma Knife to deliver 192 beams of radiation. Because of the pinpoint precision of this technology, the tissues surrounding the treatment site are rarely affected.
What Risks are Associated?
“Gamma Knife is considered an effective and highly trusted form of treatment because of its accuracy and precision. We are able to target an area so directly with little risk of causing harm to other tissues or areas of the brain. In open surgery, there is also typically a higher risk of things like infection or bleeding,” says Dr. Modha.
Patients may experience temporary fatigue after the procedure. Swelling at the treatment site may also occur, causing nausea. While shaving is not necessary with this procedure, patients may temporarily lose a very minimal amount of hair where the radiation was applied.