A Gamma knife can be used to treat tumors that cannot be safely removed by traditional surgery, e.g. metastases in the brain stem. The Gamma knife is known for its high accuracy, up to 0.5 mm, and the ability to focus radiation on the individual contours of the tumor, minimizing the irradiation of surrounding healthy tissues.
How does the Gamma knife radiosurgery work?
Despite its name, the Gamma knife procedure does not require open surgery. Patients do not even need to shave their heads before treatment.
With the help of a Gamma knife, many separate high-intensity rays are precisely focused inside a given volume. Each beam has relatively low energy, so radiation practically does not affect healthy brain tissue. However, all the rays converge in focus to deliver a high dose of radiation that kills cancer cells, even in deep tumors with uneven edges.
Indications for the use of Gamma knife
The Gamma knife is used not only for tumors but also for other diseases of the brain. It is used successfully in the treatment of both malignant and benign tumors:
- Auditory neuroma.
- Brain metastases.
- Pituitary tumors.
In addition to tumors, a Gamma knife is used for vascular malformations of the brain:
- Arteriovenous malformations.
- Cavernous malformations.
- Dura mater arteriovenous fistulas.
Indications for exposure also include:
- Pineal cancer.
- Primary intracerebral tumors.
- Brain metastases.
- Trigeminal neuralgia.
At the same time, serious kidney diseases, cerebral edema, hydrocephalus, glioblastoma, and neoplasms with size over 3.5 cm are contraindications to Gamma knife treatment.
Benefits of Gamma knife treatment
Gamma knife radiosurgery can be used as a primary treatment method or as an additional procedure. The main advantages of removing tumors using Gamma knife technology are:
- Absence of the need for craniotomy.
- Painless and minimally invasive procedure.
- Fast recovery – you return home on the same day.
- Targeted radiation – healthy tissues do not suffer.
- Possibility of treating difficult to reach tumors, including metastases of other neoplasms.
- A single session, while traditional radiation and chemotherapy are prescribed in courses, which may worsen the overall health of the patient.
Gamma knife treatment steps
No special preparation is required before Gamma knife surgery in Germany. On the eve, you should also refrain from eating too fatty foods and drinking alcohol. Before the procedure, you can safely eat and drink water, but immediately before it starts, it is important to empty the bladder.
Step 1. Diagnostics
Treatment begins with diagnosis making. You undergo a CT scan and an MRI scan. If the tumor has a vascular nature, angiography is added. Diagnostic data are analyzed by a team of specialists using the software. It also calculates the direction and the dose of Gamma rays needed specifically in your case. It depends on the complexity and spreading of the tumor process, the presence and number of metastases.
Step 2. Preparation for irradiation
Next, a special stereotactic frame is put on your head. This is necessary so that the head remains motionless during the session. To fix it in soft tissues, metal clips are used. This stage is the most painful, so the doctor will give you painkillers. As a result, you will not feel any discomfort, only light squeezing. If you are too sensitive, a specialist can offer sedatives.
Step 3. The treatment procedure
After fixing the frame, you will be placed in the necessary position and a team of specialists will leave the room. In the future, communication with you will be maintained through voice. The procedure will last from half an hour to four hours. Session time depends directly on the size and location of the tumor, the presence of metastases. The doctor will inform you about the duration of exposure in advance.
At the end of the session, you can experience fatigue (that is caused more by nervous tension than by negative impact on the body of a Gamma knife) and painful sensations at the place of the fixing frame attachment. To get rid of the symptoms, you will receive pain medication.
Where is the best Gamma knife treatment?
In recent years, Germany has opened a lot of radiosurgery departments, and in some cases the specialized treatment centers. One of these healthcare facilities is the Gamma Knife and Radiotherapy Center Krefeld. In each of the departments, a team of professional doctors with a huge number of correctly diagnosed and cured patients is working. Doctors of the clinic not only accept patients and control treatment, but also are engaged in research activities, experimental treatment methods, take part in international conferences, and win prestigious medical grants.
Prices for treatment in Germany are regulated by law. Special departments at medical institutions are involved in calculating the cost of diagnostics, treatment, and rehabilitation. Doctors are not directly involved in price formation.
Gamma knife surgery in Germany with the assistance of Booking Health will be as comfortable as possible. Booking Health provides a full range of medical services: from quick preventive examinations and diagnostics in the best hospital to the treatment of diseases and recovery from them. Moreover, the complex organization includes not only the medical services themselves but also the organization of a trip for treatment or examination to Germany.