What is gamma knife surgery?
The gamma knife is an alternative to traditional brain surgery and overall radiotherapy for the treatment of complex severe brain conditions. Leading medical institutions around the world choose the gamma knife because of its precision and documented results.
The gamma knife is a non-invasive stereotactic radiosurgical instrument that does not include a scalpel or incision. The gamma knife is not a knife, it uses up to 192 precisely focused rays of radiation to control malignant and non-malignant tumors, as well as functional and vascular disorders in the brain. Gamma knife achieves results without damaging the surrounding healthy tissue.
Patients enter and leave the hospital in one day and return to their daily activities soon after treatment. Gamma knife radiosurgery can be used instead of or in addition to traditional surgery or overall brain radiation depending on the patient’s diagnosis.
Gamma knife treatment options
Most people will never have to face the need for brain surgery or total brain radiotherapy. For those patients who need encouraging information is that there is a non-invasive treatment of high precision, gamma knife, which can be used instead of or in addition to traditional surgery or total radiation.
What is gamma knife radiosurgery?
The gamma knife is not a classic knife but a sophisticated system used to replace classical brain surgery or in some situations to replace the radiation of the whole brain. The gamma knife uses a single high dose of radiation delivered over 192 individual beams that are cut at one point with an accuracy of less than one tenth of a millimeter.
Brain damage is treated with enough radiation so that they disappear, shrink or stop growing. The gamma knife can be used to treat targets and in the most critical ones hard-to-reach parts of the brain without delivering significant doses of radiation to healthy brain tissue. The so-called scalpel-free procedure performed with the Gamma knife does not require the surgeon to make an incision in the scalp or an opening in the skull.
The gamma knife is more precise and gives less doses to healthy tissue relative to other radiosurgical tools currently in use.
What conditions can be treated with gamma knife radiosurgery?
The gamma knife can be used to treat a number of neurological disorders, including metastases brain, arteriovenous malformations facial nerve pain, meningioma, acoustic neuromas, gliomas, and pituitary tumors.
Contact your doctor to find out if a gamma radiosurgery knife is the right choice for you.
What is involved in a typical gamma knife treatment?
On the day of treatment with the Gamma knife, the patient is given light sedatives. It is then used local anesthesia to provide a head frame to the patient. The frame is used in conjunction with the shooting procedure to accurately locate the target. With the frame in place, the patient undergoes an MRI or CT scan. And in the case of arteriovenous malformation (ABM) angiography to locate the lesion in the brain being treated. By recording, the treatment team can determine the location of the lesion in the patient’s head.
While the patient rests a team usually consisting of a neurosurgeon, a radiation oncologist, and a physicist, they use a computer to create a treatment plan. Creating a plan takes 30 to 90 minutes, depending on the geometry and location of the target. The patient lies on the bed with a gamma knife so that their head is precisely placed for treatment. When the individual treatment plan is completed, the patient automatically switches to the machine and starts the treatment.
The treatment usually lasts between 20 minutes and 2 hours, during which time the patient does not feel anything. When the treatment is completed, the patient is automatically removed from the machine and the head frame is removed. In most cases, the patient goes home immediately or sometimes stays in the hospital for observation.
How many sessions are done with a gamma knife?
Gamma knife treatment usually ends in one day, patients arrive in the morning and return home later in the day. In rare cases, doctors may prescribe treatment for several days.
Does the gamma knife have an effect?
Gamma knife treatment is not an experimental form of treatment. It is considered a very effective method for the treatment of brain tumors and neurological and functional disorders. The use of gamma knives is also supported by two decades of clinical research published in the competent medical literature.
The gamma knife was developed in 1968 and has been used to treat more than a million patients.
There are over 2500 peer-reviewed publications which describe the use of the gamma knife in a range of clinical conditions including brain tumors, vascular malformations, movement disorders, and facial pain. The results published by the centers that use the gamma knife confirm that the results are as good as other techniques, but with lower complication rates.
What studies have been done or are being done to determine the effectiveness of using a gamma knife?
The number of published, peer-reviewed scientific articles documenting outcomes in gamma knife-treated patients surpasses any other form of stereotactic radiosurgery.
Centers and universities where gamma knife treatments have been applied and researched have published more than 2,500 papers and treated more than a million patients worldwide in the last 50 years. The fact is that 75% of the published radiosurgical literature (including most multicenter examinations) is based on the use of a gamma knife. This information is especially important because the application of the gamma knife and the Linac systems began to be applied in the same period.
How many patients were treated with a gamma knife?
Over a million patients are treated with the Lexell Gamma knife and about 80,000 patients are treated each year.
What does the patient feel during the gamma knife treatment?
There may be a feeling of mild pain due to the use of a local anesthetic used during the placement of the head frame. Patients reported feeling pressure when the frame was applied, but no pain.
What can a patient expect after gamma knife treatment?
After the treatment, the head frame is removed. Bleeding can sometimes occur where the needles touch the patient’s head. Pressure is applied to stop the bleeding. It is usually recommended that the patient refrain from physical activity for the next 18 to 24 hours.
How fast will the gamma knife treatment work?
The effects of gamma knife radiosurgery occur over a period of weeks to years, depending on the condition being treated.
Gamma knife price
The cost of gamma knife surgery varies from country to country. In western countries, this price is much higher. The countries that lead in the development of the centers are South Korea, Israel, the United States, Germany and Turkey.
If we compare the price of the operation with a gamma knife, we can conclude that the best in terms of quality and price ratio is Turkey, in which the price of the procedure varies between 6,000 and 10,000 US dollars. Turkey and South Korea are also in the lead in terms of the number of centers and the number of specialized doctors who perform these procedures.
The cost of gamma knife treatment itself depends on the complexity of the operation. It should be noted that in addition there are additional costs such as examinations and consultations with a doctor and accommodation costs.