What To Expect
The gamma knife is really not a knife at all. For this type of surgery, 201 highly-focused x-ray beams make up the “scalpel” that “cuts” through diseased tissue.

The gamma knife surgery itself takes approximately 15 minutes to 1 hour, but pre-treatment preparation can take an hour or more.

 Step 1 - Headpiece Frame Placement:
First, the head frame is secured with sterile pins. A local anesthetic, or mild sedative are given to minimize discomfort and relax patients during the placement of the frame. Once in place, the frame is used to localize the target area and immobilize and position the patient’s head during treatment with the gamma knife.
 Step 2 - Diagnostic Imaging:
Patients then undergo a series of advanced diagnostic tests to help physicians determine the precise location and size of the tumor or abnormality. These tests are painless and could include x-rays, computerized tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and/or angiogram. These images will guide the treatment team in determining the best radiation dosage and treatment length.
 Step 3 – Treatment Planning:
Using the information obtained from diagnostic imaging, the gamma knife’s computerized treatment-planning software creates a three-dimensional model that matches the shape and size of the actual target. Dosage of radiation and length of treatment are then determined.
 Step 4 – Gamma Knife Surgery:
Individual x-rays beams of cobalt gamma radiation are aimed through a helmet-like sphere called a collimator to the targeted tumor or malformation. At the site of the tumor or abnormality, the separate beams converge through the collimator into one beam delivering enough radiation to cause damage to the diseased tissue while sparing surrounding normal tissue.

Gamma knife is non-invasive and painless, so patients remain awake during treatment and, though physicians, technicians, and nurses are in an adjoining room during delivery of the radiation, they maintain constant visual and voice contact with patients.

 Step 5 – Recovery:
Patients are monitored for a few hours following treatment, and most return home the same day. Some patients remain in the hospital overnight for observation. The majority of patients resume normal activities within one to two days of their gamma knife procedure. Patients will return to their referring physician or Johns Hopkins for follow-up diagnostic tests to monitor and assess the results of gamma knife surgery.

 

Gamma Knife
 What To Expect
 Is Gamma Knife Right For Me?
Stereotactic Radiosurgery
Modified Linear Accelerated Radiological Surgery
Fractionated Stereotactic Radiology
Intensified Modified Radio Therapy (IMRT)
3D Conformal Radio Therapy
Conventional Radio Therapy

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