Gamma Knife therapy is designed to stop expansion of tumors or lesions, or in other words, tumor or lesion may not immediately disappear and it will shrink within weeks or months.
Specially designed stereotactic helmet, one key component of Leksell Gamma Knife device, enables your surgeon identify the tumor or diseases area a “pinpoint” precision. This helmet is placed on and fixed to your head using four small screws and it ensures that beams are precisely delivered to the target. This helmet completely immobilizes your head during the procedure and accordingly, beams are precisely focused on the target area in your brain.
A series of advanced imaging study, such as MRI or CT, will be required in order to precisely determine size, shape and location of the tumor, lesion or abnormality, while helmet is on the head of the patient. Angiogram may be also necessary, if your physician treats a vascular abnormality. Angiogram includes intravenous administration of an opaque substance and therefore, imaging study will clearly show cerebral veins and arteries. Coordinates on the helmet form a part of images, which will be used by your neurosurgeon to make a precise plan for the procedure.
After images are recorded, you may sleep, rest or relax, while your physician develops a specific treatment plan for you. First, images are processed in the computer. Next, a treatment protocol will be planned using Leksell Gamma Knife 3D planning software.
There is no single treatment, which fits all patients; treatment is planned specifically for each patient, taking into consideration special condition of the patient. Leksell Gamma Knife includes a specific helmet set, which has 201 holes in order to precisely deliver radiation beams to the brain, and your treatment will be comprised of one or more than one therapy sessions.
When treatment plan is completed, you will be placed on treatment table and your head will be placed in the stereotactic frame for your first therapy. You will be wake during the procedure and you will have audiovisual communication with Leksell Gamma Knife team. When Gamma Knife radiosurgery is started, dome of the treatment table will move, which is substantially similar to the table of MRI or CT device.
The team will continuously monitor the procedure. You may receive more than one therapy, each taking 2 to 45 minutes, during Leksell Gamma Knife session.
Return to normal life
Helmet will be removed, when your treatment is completed. If angiogram is scanned, you should lie calm for further several hours. Some patients may experience minimal headache or minimal swelling at the localization, where helmet is fixed; however, most patients did not report any problem. Your doctor will notify you whether you will stay at hospital or you will be discharged to home. In each case, you may return your work or ordinary daily life in next day.
You will notice effects of Gamma Knife therapy in the course of time. Gamma Knife therapy is designed to stop expansion of tumors or lesions, or in other words, tumor or lesion may not immediately disappear and it will shrink within weeks or months. Your physician and Gamma Knife team will regularly contact you in order to evaluate prognosis and this follow-up evaluation includes MRI or CT scans in near future and at regular intervals.