The Gamma Knife radiosurgery or gamma knife or sometimes referred as stereotactic radiosurgery is a very precise form of radiotherapy that delivers very intense and focused beams of gamma rays for the treatment of small to medium sized brain lesions that are considered inoperable or untreatable. The gamma rays are delivered with pinpoint accuracy to the tumor or lesion without any surgical opening or incision. Its accuracy facilitates minimal effect to the surrounding healthy tissue.
It provides a non-surgical and pain-free option of treatment to patients who suffer from inoperable or surgically complex brain disorders. It is also a solution for patients who may be looking for an alternative to surgery. But due to its slow therapeutic effects, gamma knife radiosurgery is not an option of treatment for patients suffering from conditions that require immediate treatment.
Is it a surgery?
This is the first thing that comes in mind of every person after hearing the name of the procedure “Gamma Knife”. But despite its name having knife in it, it is not a surgery and no knife or scalpel is used in the procedure. Also, there is no cutting involved in the procedure and it is completely non-invasive procedure. In fact, the Gamma Knife radiosurgery is a non-invasive stereotactic radiosurgery technique named so because its results match the surgical outcomes.
What kind of lesions or tumors are treated with Gamma Knife?
Gamma knife radiosurgery can effectively treat or control following types of inoperable or untreatable benign as well as malignant tumours, nerve conditions, functional disorders and blood vessel malformations:
- Intracranial tumors such as pituitary adenomas, acoustic neuromas, pinealomas, meningiomas, craniopharyngiomas, glial tumors, chordomas and chondrosarcomas
- Brain metastases
- Arteriovenous malformations, or AVM (a type of blood vessel defect)
- Trigeminal neuralgia
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder
- Acoustic neuroma
- Parkinson’s disease
How does Gamma Knife deliver precised radiations only to target area?
Gamma Knife is designed in such a way that it can deliver high intensity of gamma rays only to the target area to destroy tumors or lesions of brain. It is a very sophisticated system that can replace the brain surgery or brain radiotherapy in some cases. It precisely targets the tumor by delivering single, high dose of gamma rays through around 192 individual beams. These individual beams intersect at the target spot and deliver desired dose of gamma rays with accuracy of less than one tenth of the millimetre. These highly focused beams of radiation treat brain lesions so that they either shrink or disappear or stop growing. It can be used to treat an otherwise untreatable or inoperable brain condition.
Gamma Knife procedure
Before Gamma Knife procedure is done on the patient, various diagnostic scans including CT scan, MRI scan, PET scan or biopsy are done to make a diagnosis of the condition and locate the lesion. Once the decision to perform Gamma knife is made, the patient is asked to visit the hospital on the due date.
On the day of treatment, patient is asked to remove all the clothes and wear a gown. Also, any jewellery or accessories are also removed before the procedure. The procedure is performed under local anaesthesia or light sedation. First of all, patient’s head is secured in the head frame that is used in conjunction with an imaging procedure so that the target area can be precisely located during the procedure. After this, an MRI or CT scan of the head is done. In AVM, angiography is done to locate the target brain lesion.
Patient now comfortably relaxes on the procedure table and a treatment plan is prepared by the team. As the plan becomes ready, patient is lied on the Gamma Knife couch in a position that precisely places head for treatment. Now the real treatment begins, and patient moves into the machine automatically. It may take anything between 20 minutes to 2 hours depending upon the location, size and extent of lesion or tumor. During the whole treatment procedure, patient does not feel anything. As soon as the procedure completes, patient is moved out of the machine and head frame is also removed.
The Gamma Knife procedure is performed as an outpatient procedure. This means that patient does not need to stay in the hospital after procedure is over and can go home on the same day.
Also, recovery after Gamma Knife procedure is often immediate, due to its low risk of complications and negligible damage to healthy tissue.
How many sessions are required for Gamma Knife radiosurgery?
In most of the cases, Gamma Knife treatment is completed in a single session that does not require a night stay in the hospital. Very rarely it may be required to deliver the treatment over a few days.
Advantages of Gamma Knife
- Non-invasive and painless procedure
- Treats brain lesions and inoperable brain tumours
- Bloodless radiosurgery
- Only local anaesthesia and light sedation is required and is generally very comfortable for the patient
- Duration of the treatment is reduced by Gamma Knife from 5-6 weeks (as in usual radiotherapy) to a single session
- Significantly fewer side effects or complications
- Lower risk than open surgery
- Can target virtually from any direction or angle with sub-millimetre accuracy
- Destroy tumours and stop the growth of cancer cells
- No damage to the healthy tissue
- Patient can go home soon after the treatment
Post Procedure Care
- Patient is kept in the post-operative room under observation for few hours after the Gamma Knife procedure to track the patient health
- Patient can move around and stay as normal as possible after the procedure
- Almost all the patients are discharged on the same day after Gamma Knife procedure as only one session is generally required
- Patient should not drive on the day and should be accompanied by someone who can take him home after the procedure
- Patient is allowed to take meals as usual but healthy eating is encouraged for early recovery from the procedure
- A gap of 1-1.5 hours is recommended between Gamma Knife session and meal to avoid any kind of nausea or uneasy sensation
- Patient is given medication to manage any kind of discomfort, nausea or headache, if required
- Patient is advised to take plenty of rest but should also move around as often as possible
- Patient can gently shampoo hair the day after the procedure
- Patient can resume all the daily activities like usual but avoid any kind of strenuous activities for few days after the procedure
- Patient should not scrub the pin sites on the head until they have completed healed
- Patient is advised to visit the hospital for routine examinations and general health care for almost 6 months after the procedure.
- Patient should also keep a check for recurrence or any other abnormality and keep the doctor informed about every happening.
Why MedTours Global?
- We are associated with the best hospitals globally having the emergency infrastructure, fully equipped with the latest technologies and techniques to overcome from every emergency condition.
- Our team of doctors are highly experienced in ‘Emergency Patient Management’ and work together to save the patient.
- Consultation from doctors through e-mail, phone, and video calling.
- Rehabilitation programs are organized to assist complex surgery patients.
- Complete support and assistance being given before and after treatment.
- Cost of treatment is quite less as compared to other service providers.
- We are always ready to offer our helping hand and our services are available Free of Cost 24/7.