A Day with Gamma Knife®
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Typically in a single, outpatient session, patients receive their treatment plan and treatment. Instead of multiple sessions over days, treatment is completed in a few hours.
With Gamma Knife, challenging side effects are virtually non-existent and treatment does not require cutting or shaving a patient’s hair.
Life continues without interruption, patients are typically in and out of the hospital in a day’s time and back to their normal routines.
TYPICAL ONE-DAY PROCEDURE
Step-by-step guide to understanding Gamma Knife treatment. Depending on the clinical situation, the steps of the procedure may vary.
Before the day of treatment, patients are informed about the entire procedure, including the fact that Gamma Knife radiosurgery does not require cutting or shaving a patient’s hair.
When a patient arrives for treatment, a thermoplastic mask is placed over the face or a lightweight frame is attached to the head. This prevents movement during treatment and allows the doctor to accurately locate and treat targets in the brain with microscopic precision.
Defining the Target
A preoperative MRI image with 1-2 mm thickness is performed to locate the exact position of the target or multiple targets to be treated. Gamma Knife stereotactic immobilization of the head ensures stability and accuracy to within 0.3 mm.
Once diagnostic images that pinpoint the exact location to be treated have been taken, the Gamma Knife team develops a customized treatment plan using a highly specialized planning system. Every treatment plan is uniquely created to individually address a patient’s specific medical condition .
Before treatment begins, a patient is positioned on the Gamma Knife couch. The patient is awake during treatment and can communicate with the doctor or nurse through an audio and video connection at all times. When treatment begins, the couch moves into the dome of Gamma Knife. Gamma Knife is silent, so during treatment, patients often listen to music or fall asleep. Treatment can last a few minutes or more than an hour, depending on the number of targets, as well as the size and shape of each target. Patients are monitored at all times during the procedure.
When treatment has ended, the thermoplastic mask or head frame is removed. Some patients may experience a mild headache or minor swelling where the head frame was attached. Typically patients go home soon after Gamma Knife radiosurgery and return to their normal routine in a day or so.
Gamma Knife radiosurgery is designed to control or eliminate your clinical indication. The effects will be seen over a period of weeks or months. Physicians stay in contact with patients to monitor their progress, which may include follow-up MRI, CT or angiography images.