What Are the Possible Side Effects and Risks of the Gamma Knife Treatment?


Quick Answer

Side effects of Gamma Knife radiosurgery are normally temporary and may include fatigue, swelling and problems with the hair or scalp, according to Mayo Clinic. In rare cases, patients may experience brain or neurological problems months after the procedure.

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Full Answer

Although traditional neurosurgery carries risks such as bleeding, infections and complications relating to anesthesia, Gamma Knife radiosurgery carries minimal risk because it involves no surgical incisions, as confirmed by Mayo Clinic. Tiredness and fatigue may affect the patient for the first several weeks following the procedure. Swelling around the treatment site or in the brain may cause symptoms such as nausea, headaches and vomiting. The doctor may prescribe corticosteroid medications to prevent or treat symptoms by reducing inflammation. The scalp may become sensitive, red or irritated at the sites where the device is attached to the head, and hair loss is generally minimal if it occurs.

After the head frame is removed, patients may experience some tenderness or bleeding where the pins rested, as stated by Mayo Clinic. Patients may eat and drink freely after the procedure. Gamma Knife radiosurgery generally causes minimal damage to healthy tissue and may have a lower risk of side effects than other types of radiation therapy. It is normally a one-time treatment option that is performed within a day.

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