Gamma Knife Details

Gamma knife surgery is a fully automated form of surgery that uses radiation to treat most often malignant tumors and other abnormalities in the brain. This type of surgery is used to pinpoint areas that cannot be reached via traditional surgical methods or to target tumors only millimeters in diameter. Over 100 low-intensity beams of highly-focused gamma rays are made to converge on a single pre-determined spot via previous diagnostic procedures and scans. The procedure is largely non-invasive and is usually an outpatient treatment but patients may require an overnight stay for continued monitoring.   

Before Gamma Knife

Gamma knife is able to treat a large variety of tumors and is especially effective for individuals who are unable to undergo traditional surgeries.  Patients should consult with their doctor(s) before considering Gamma knife as an option so that a team of specialists can be assembled to prepare the patient and plan for the treatment. Brain scans must be done prior to the procedure so that the data can be loaded into the Gamma knife system and used to determine the critical structures needing to be treated and to define the optimum dose of radiation. These scans may also be accompanied by a thorough examination of medical and surgical history as well as more traditional clinical examinations.

How it is performed

Patient’s undergoing Gamma knife surgery must wear a specialized frame and helmet that is surgically affixed to the head.  Anesthesia is administered before this procedure to alleviate pain. Data from brain imaging is then put into the Gamma knife system to help determine the exact coordinates of the brain area of interest. During the procedure, the patient is automatically positioned to receive the treatment.  Depending on the location of the tumor and its severity, the treatment may take from 15 minutes to an hour but nothing is felt by the patient for its duration.

Recovery

Gamma knife radiation is often considered safer than other brain surgery alternatives because it is not invasive and there is no risk of damaging healthy parts of the brain. Because of the low-impact nature of the surgery, there is relatively little recovery time. The patient may be advised to keep activity to a minimum for the next day but regular activity may be resumed in a few days. Effects of the surgery may not manifest for several days or for several years depending on the type of condition. 

Potential Risks

Risks of Gamma knife are minimal but include possible irritation and redness around the surgical site, local swelling and/or pain. More severe but less common side-effects that may arise as a result of exposure to radiation may be nausea, hair loss, local tissue death, or visual/hearing loss.

Cost for Gamma Knife

India from $6,500

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