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What are the risks of Gamma Knife radiosurgery?

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Quick Answer

The risks of Gamma Knife radiosurgery include brain swelling and headaches, nausea and numbness. Pregnant women, even in the very early stages of pregnancy, also risk birth defects to their baby from radiation exposure. Depending on the location and scale of the treatment, some other risks include seizures, weakness, difficulties balancing and vision problems, according to the Department of Neurosurgery at Columbia University Medical Center.

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Full Answer

There are additional potential risks associated with Gamma Knife radiosurgery. In addition to side effects, the procedure may also interact negatively with previously existing and current medical conditions, so it is important to notify physicians of any concerns regarding changes in health before the radiosurgery takes place.

Side effects such as brain swelling and headaches are likely to be only temporary and should resolve themselves in time. Sometimes, however, medication or open surgery is required to control the swelling. Other side effects, such as localized hair loss and inflammation or sensitive redness, should also disappear in time.

Generally, Gamma Knife, or stereotactic, radiosurgery is a safer alternative to other forms of radiation treatment. While it may damage tissue locally, it is rare for it to cause more damage than other radiation therapies, according to the MedlinePlus website.

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