What Is Gamma Knife Surgery?


Quick Answer

Gamma Knife surgery is radiation therapy that treats tumors and other brain defects, states Mayo Clinic. Radiation beams are used on the afflicted area without affecting the brain tissue. Gamma Knife surgery is less invasive than other types of surgery and has a lower risk of side effects.

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Full Answer

Gamma Knife radiosurgery is typically a one-day procedure and is used to treat brain tumors, arteriovenous malformation, trigeminal neuralgia, acoustic neuroma and pituitary tumors, explains Mayo Clinic. It is chosen over standard brain surgery when the abnormality is too difficult to reach with standard brain surgery, a less invasive procedure is preferred, or a person is unable to withstand standard neurosurgery. Common temporary side effects of Gamma Knife radiosurgery are scalp and hair issues, fatigue, and swelling of the brain and treatment site.

Gamma Knife radiosurgery impairs DNA in the cell of a tumor to prohibit growth and reproduction, explains Mayo Clinic. Gamma Knife radiosurgery also allows proper blood flow in the brain by remedying abnormal artery and vein entanglement. The procedure often provides facial pain relief within days when treating trigeminal neuralgia and reduces the size of an acoustic neuroma with minimal permanent nerve damage. Gamma Knife radiosurgery treats a pituitary tumor by reducing its size to prevent issues in pituitary hormone regulation.

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