What is Gamma Knife radiosurgery?

The Leksell Gamma Knife® is the gold standard for non-surgically treating many serious neurological disorders located in the head and neck, including:

  • malignant tumors
  • metastatic brain tumors
  • benign brain tumors, including acoustic neuromas, meningiomas and pituitary tumors
  • arteriovenous malformations
  • trigeminal neuralgia

Gamma Knife radiosurgery is the most precise tool for radiosurgery. It effectively treats some conditions of the head and neck that were previously considered inoperable.

The Gamma Knife is not a knife at all. Instead, it uses highly focused beams of cobalt-60 gamma rays to stop the growth of many small to medium-sized tumors and other abnormalities. In many cases, the deformities will shrink over time after Gamma Knife neurosurgery. Designed specifically to treat brain disorders, the Gamma Knife has been in use for more than 40 years and has treated more than 350,000 patients safely and effectively. Since it was developed, there have been many enhancements to the Gamma Knife technology, with extensive research and documentation to verify its safety and effectiveness.

Advanced Gamma Knife stereotactic radiosurgery is often a good alternative to traditional open surgery and conventional whole-brain radiosurgery. It is also an excellent treatment option when tumors or lesions cannot be reached through conventional surgery or the patient's overall condition can't tolerate surgery.

Gamma Knife radiosurgery delivers the benefits of minimally invasive surgery

The powerful Gamma Knife is recognized worldwide as the ultimate tool for minimally invasive stereotactic radiosurgery. Usually performed during a single outpatient session, Gamma Knife radiosurgery avoids many risks of open surgery, including excessive bleeding and infection. The nearly painless Gamma Knife procedure is safe and comfortable for patients. This eliminates the need for general anesthesia and its possible side effects. Most patients can go home just few hours after treatment and return to their normal activities.

How does Gamma Knife radiosurgery work?

The Gamma Knife delivers extremely focused beams of cobalt radiation to precise targets in the brain, head or neck. During Gamma Knife radiosurgery, up to 200 radiation beams converge on the target with a level of accuracy better than half a millimeter, or 1/50th of an inch—the thickness of a strand of hair. Meanwhile, nearby healthy tissue is undamaged. The cumulative effect of the radiation is high. But, each individual beam has low intensity, so tissue the beam passes through on the way to the target is not affected.

At a Gamma Knife center, a team of experts develops an individualized treatment plan based on detailed, 3-D images of the patient's brain captured through computerized technology and diagnostic imaging. The treatment team includes a neurosurgeon, a radiation oncologist and a medical physicist. Treatment can take a few minutes to a few hours, depending on the type and location of the abnormality.


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