Gamma Knife® radiosurgery is done only for tumors and other medical problems of the head. For tumors and problems elsewhere in the body, other radiosurgery systems may be used. Gamma Knife® surgery represents a major advance in brain surgery, and in the last three decades has changed the landscape within the field of neurosurgery. Its development has enhanced neurosurgical treatments offered to patients with brain tumors and vascular malformations by providing a safe, accurate and reliable treatment option. Gamma Knife® enables patients to undergo a non-invasive form of brain surgery without surgical risks, a long hospital stay or subsequent rehabilitation.
The clinical effectiveness of Gamma Knife® has been documented over four decades. More than 700,000 cases have been treated worldwide, providing data for over 4,000 publications in peer-reviewed medical literature.
Gamma Knife® surgery is unique in that no surgical incision is made to expose the inside of the brain, thereby reducing the risk of surgical complications and eliminating the side effects and dangers of general anesthesia. The “blades” of the Gamma Knife® are the beams of gamma radiation programmed to target the lesion at the point where they intersect. In a single treatment session, 192 beams of gamma radiation focus precisely on the lesion. Over time, most lesions slowly decrease in size and dissolve. The exposure is brief and only the tissue being treated receives a significant radiation dose, while the surrounding tissue remains unharmed.
With the Gamma Knife®, a surgical incision is not required; the attendant risks of open neurosurgical procedures (hemorrhage, infection, cerebrospinal fluid leakage, etc.) are therefore avoided.
Conditions for which the Gamma Knife® is considered most effective are:
- Intracranial tumors such as acoustic neuromas, pituitary adenomas, pinealomas, craniopharyngiomas, meningiomas, chordomas, chondrosarcomas, metastases and glial tumors.
- Vascular malformations including arteriovenous malformations.
- Functional disorders such as trigeminal neuralgia and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
The Gamma Knife® technology can be used to treat those who do not require immediate surgical relief of disabling symptoms and those whose tumors are, in general, 3 cm or less.
As an example, Meningiomas are the most common benign brain tumors. Gamma Knife® has a 95% control rate for the treatment of meningiomas. The following images show the decrease in meningioma after Gamma Knife® treatment.
Leksell Gamma Knife® is a registered trademark of Elekta Instruments, Inc.