It’s important to understand all the potential options for treating your meningioma. Gamma Knife radiosurgery for meningioma is one option available to patients in northern NJ.
As you are exploring your meningioma treatment options, you’re learning a lot of new information. Trying to understand all of it at once can be a little overwhelming, especially following a recent medical diagnosis. The last thing you need right now is to feel extra stress. What can be helpful is a basic understanding of your condition and treatment options. This can prepare you for a discussion with your personal doctor about your individual situation.
One meningioma treatment option available in the tri-state area is Gamma Knife radiosurgery. If you’re not familiar with the procedure, that’s okay. The following information will help you understand how it works, how it can treat your tumor and how effective it is as a meningioma treatment option.
What is a Meningioma?
Before discussing meningioma treatment options, it can be helpful to have a deeper understanding of your condition. The brain and spinal cord are covered in a thin, tough layer called the meninges. A tumor that forms from this tissue is called a meningioma. Meningiomas typically develop during middle age, and they are more common in women than men.
Most meningiomas are benign. This means they are not cancerous. However, benign is not the same thing as harmless. It simply means the tumor is not spreading elsewhere in the body or invading local tissues. A benign tumor can still cause damage and symptoms by pressing on adjacent structures, like brain tissue, nerves or blood vessels.
What is Gamma Knife Radiosurgery?
Gamma Knife radiosurgery is not surgery at all, but an advanced form of radiation therapy available in northern NJ. Using approximately 200 individual beams of low dose radiation, Gamma Knife radiosurgery targets your tumor directly, sparing healthy surrounding tissues. Tumor cells are destroyed without any incisions or the need for a hospital stay.
The actual Gamma Knife radiosurgery procedure only takes 15-75 minutes, depending on the size and location of the area. You will be released to recover at home within a few hours of completing treatment. Because you are awake the entire time, there is no hospital recovery required.
Is Gamma Knife Radiosurgery an Effective Meningioma Treatment?
Studies have found that Gamma Knife radiosurgery is a safe and effective meningioma treatment option. Gamma Knife radiosurgery can be used alone to treat small tumors or in combination with surgery. Many patients require only a single treatment session, though this depends on the size, location and grade of your meningioma.
Many patients in the tri-state area have been successfully treated with Gamma Knife radiosurgery for meningiomas. You can read the story of Kate Cammarata and learn more about her experience.
What is Gamma Knife Radiosurgery for Meningioma Recovery Like?
Because Gamma Knife radiosurgery is minimally invasive, there is no long recovery like there is with brain surgery. In fact, most patients are back to normal activity levels within a day or two. Along the same lines, recovery following Gamma Knife radiosurgery is also milder than traditional radiation for brain tumors. Because your doctor can target just your tumor, healthy surrounding brain tissue is spared, leading to less of the unpleasant side effects commonly associated with radiation therapy.
What are the Benefits of Gamma Knife Radiosurgery for Meningioma?
Your personal doctor will consider the risks and benefits of all your meningioma treatment options before making any recommendations. The benefits of Gamma Knife radiosurgery include:
- No surgical risks, including those related to general anesthesia
- No overnight hospital stay
- Brief, mild recovery period, with most patients back to work in a day or two
- Can be used alone or in combination with surgery
What are the Risks of Gamma Knife Radiosurgery for Meningioma?
Because Gamma Knife radiosurgery is a minimally invasive procedure and treatment is limited to an area with an accuracy of 0.15 mm, risks are minimal. Your doctor will review the risks of the procedure with you, but they generally include:
- Fatigue for a day or two
- Mild headache or nausea, which is transient and can be treated with medications
- Delayed swelling of the brain in the months following treatment, which is also treated with medication
Continue Educating Yourself
At this point, you should have a little better understanding of how Gamma Knife radiosurgery can treat your meningioma. The procedure is minimally invasive, can be used alone or in a combination approach and has been proven to be effective for treating meningiomas. The recovery period is brief and mild, and there are no risks related to surgery. This, along with the lack of a hospital stay, makes it an excellent treatment option for many patients.
If you still have questions about your meningioma, Gamma Knife radiosurgery or any other aspects of your care, be sure to bring them up with your personal doctor. He or she will be the best person to relate the information here to your individual situation. Having a deeper understanding of your options will help you make informed decisions and rest easy before, during and after your treatment.