Gamma Knife Radiosurgery System
What it is
Gamma Knife is a type of radiation therapy used for the treatment of a broad range of tumors and vascular malformations of the brain. The Gamma Knife machine delivers very high doses of radiation to its target with pinpoint accuracy. It is a non-invasive alternative to surgery in certain patients. There is no incision, no pain from the radiation itself, and no overnight hospital stay.
Who can benefit
Patients with tumors / vascular malformations that are small (<3cm), surgically inaccessible, or located in a part of the brain that would carry a high risk of developing a neurologic deficit with surgical resection.
How it works
Gamma Knife uses computer assisted navigation with image guidance software to deliver focal radiation to the lesion of interest, sparing injury to the surrounding brain tissue.
Prior to the procedure, a stereotactic frame is attached to the head, and an MRI / CT is performed of the brain to determine the size and location of the tumor / vascular malformation. Based on the results of the imaging, the radiation oncologist and neurosurgeon create a plan for radiation delivery.
The patient is then brought to the Gamma Knife machine and the head frame is secured to the table to prevent head movement during radiation delivery. A treatment session typically takes less than two hours. Once radiation is complete, the head frame is removed and the patient is observed for a short period prior to going home. Depending on the type and size of the lesion, the radiation oncologist may plan one or more sessions of treatment.
Image courtesy of Elekta