Radiosurgery: How It Works
Gamma Knife radiosurgery delivers radiation more accurately than conventional radiation therapy. It creates high-energy beams of radiation strong enough to deactivate even some of the most aggressive tumors.
Gamma Knife also reduces the risk of damage to healthy areas of the brain; we often recommend it for brain tumors in hard-to-reach places.
Gamma Knife Procedure
Watch this video to see what happens during the Gamma Knife procedure. View Gamma Knife Center transcript.
Before, During & After the Procedure
The procedure is simple and painless.
We attach a mesh covering or frame to prevent your head from moving. This allows your neurosurgeon to accurately target the treatment.
We determine the exact size, shape and position of the target in your brain, using either magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computed tomography (CT) or angiography.
3. Treatment Planning
Once imaging has been completed, your doctor develops a precise treatment plan. No two treatment plans are alike. Your doctor, sometimes with another team specialist, enters the imaging data and other information into a computer and calculates how the treatment should be performed.
Once your treatment plan is complete, the actual treatment can start:
- You lie down on the treatment couch.
- The couch moves into the dome section of the unit.
- The team monitors the procedure at all times.
- The treatment lasts anywhere from a few minutes to more than an hour, depending on the size and shape of the target.
During the treatment, you can:
- Stay awake
- Talk to the doctor or nurse
- Listen to music
5. After the Treatment
If you had an angiogram, you might have to lie quietly for several more hours.
You may stay overnight for observation or return home immediately. However, you should be able to return to your normal routine in a day or so.
The effects of your treatment will occur over time — a period of weeks or months. We may evaluate your progress with follow-up MRI, CT or angiography images.