Certain brain tumor patients can be treated with Gamma Knife, a specialized radiation treatment system that in some cases can replace surgery.
Gamma Knife uses stereotactic navigation and 201 individual beams of radiation to deliver a highly focused dose of energy to precise targets within the patient’s skull. Treatment takes place on an outpatient basis, usually in just one session.
Often called “radiosurgery,” a Gamma Knife can kill many tumors without the need for a traditional open procedure. The system can also be used to treat cancerous tissue left over after surgery for a very large tumor. Specific uses include malignant brain tumors and benign brain tumors.
Malignant Brain Tumors
Brain metastases can cause several neurological side effects, including headaches, nausea and changes in cognitive abilities. Gamma Knife radiosurgery can decrease the tumor burden of brain metastases, removing or significantly diminishing these problems. Gamma Knife is also effective for certain primary malignant brain tumors.
Benign Brain Tumors
Gamma Knife can effectively treat many benign tumor conditions without the need for surgery. Most acoustic neuromas (also called vestibular schwannomas) can be controlled using radiosurgery. Other benign growths that can be treated with Gamma Knife include meningiomas, pituitary adenomas and glomus tumors.