As you learn more about your brain tumor behind the eye and available treatment options in NJ, you have likely come across a treatment called Gamma Knife radiosurgery. You may even have your procedure scheduled already and are wondering what to expect. Wherever you are in your treatment planning process, self-education is a great way to increase your understanding and play an active role in your care.
Gamma Knife radiosurgery is an excellent treatment option for many patients with a brain tumor behind the eye. However, you may be unfamiliar with the technology and the benefits Gamma Knife radiosurgery can offer over traditional surgery. The following information will build on the knowledge you already have to help enhance your understanding of Gamma Knife radiosurgery and how it can benefit you and other patients in the New Jersey area.
A Little More About Your Condition
The brain tumor behind your eye is typically a type of meningioma. A meningioma is a tumor that develops from the meninges, a very thin structure that covers the entire brain and spinal cord. This means a meningioma can develop anywhere along the brain or spinal cord. When the meningioma arises from an area behind the eye, in front of the sphenoid bone of the skull, it is classified as a sphenoid meningioma.
Meningiomas are not only variable in their location, but also their grade, or aggressiveness. Some people with aggressive or very large meningiomas will require surgical treatment. Specifically for patients with a tumor behind the eye, these tumors often require surgical reduction prior to Gamma Knife treatment. However, 98-99% of meningiomas are benign and may be treatable using Gamma Knife radiosurgery. Because a brain tumor behind the eye is in close proximity to delicate structures, such as the optic nerve, Gamma Knife radiosurgery can be an excellent treatment option because of its pinpoint accuracy.
How Gamma Knife Radiosurgery Works
Gamma Knife radiosurgery may sound like a surgical procedure itself, but it’s actually a form of stereotactic radiosurgery, an advanced form of radiation therapy. Using nearly 200 beams of low-energy radiation, your doctor is able to target the brain tumor behind the eye with minimal dosing to nearby healthy structures, including the optic nerve. The combined effect of the individual beams delivers a large, effective dose to the tumor cells, and some patients require only a single treatment session.
What to Expect During Your Procedure
Gamma Knife radiosurgery is performed in an outpatient setting, which means you will return home the same day, typically a few hours after the procedure is complete. The treatment itself only takes 15-60 minutes, depending on the size of the tumor behind your eye. You may only need to undergo a single treatment session, although some patients will require up to five in total.
At the beginning of your appointment, your doctor will fit you with a headframe or custom-fit mask, depending on your individual circumstances. These are both features designed to keep you stable during the procedure, allowing your doctor to treat you with maximum precision. The team will take a series of images to review the treatment site. Once everything is finalized, your procedure will begin.
Following your procedure, you may be a little fatigued, and you may experience headaches and nausea, which can be managed using medications. Most patients are able to return to all regular activities, including work, within a day or two. Your doctor will be the best person to discuss your individual recovery outlook with you to give you an idea of what to expect.
The Benefits of Gamma Knife Radiosurgery
The benefits of Gamma Knife radiosurgery are why many experts in northern NJ prefer it to treat brain tumors behind the eye in many patients. As compared to surgery, some of the benefits of Gamma Knife radiosurgery include:
- It is a minimally invasive procedure, with none of the general surgical risks like a reaction to anesthesia, infection, bleeding and blood clots.
- There is a reduced risk of damage to the optic nerve.
- You will be awake the entire time and able to communicate with your team.
- You will go home the same day, as opposed to a hospital stay required following traditional surgery.
- You will likely be able to return to normal activity levels within a couple of days, as opposed to weeks (or even months) of activity restrictions following surgery.
- You will experience less pain and a shorter recovery period overall.
Gamma Knife Radiosurgery and You
Whether you and your doctor are still developing your treatment plan or you already have a Gamma Knife radiosurgery procedure scheduled, you now have a better understanding of what makes it an excellent treatment option for your brain tumor behind the eye. Experts around the world, including NYC and NJ, recognize that the minimally invasive nature and extreme precision of Gamma Knife radiosurgery yield great results. Continue this discussion with your personal doctor. As you continue to learn more about your condition and upcoming treatment, you can enjoy the confidence and peace of mind your extra effort gives you.