What is
Gamma Knife?

Gamma Knife is an excellent
minimally invasive option
compared to traditional surgery

What to Expect During
Gamma Knife Radiosurgery

Though the name may sound like a surgical procedure, Gamma Knife is actually an advanced form of radiation therapy that uses multiple focused beams of radiation to target a highly specific area.

Because it is so focused, stereotactic radiosurgery does not affect as much of the surrounding tissue as traditional radiation therapy, such as whole brain radiation, resulting in fewer side effects. Additionally, because it is completely noninvasive, stereotactic radiosurgery does not carry any of the risks associated with surgery, has less post-procedural pain and has a minimal recovery period.

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1

Head Stabilizing

A headframe or mask is required to ensure the pinpoint accuracy of Gamma Knife radiosurgery. The headframe is a lightweight metal device that sits on your head. The mask is an alternative method of head stabilization. It is made of a custom-formed mesh, which is designed to fit your face perfectly. Neither method requires you to shave any hair.

The neurosurgeon will determine which method of immobilization is best for your specific treatment. If a headframe is selected, the neurosurgeon will work with the Nurse Navigator and physicists to place it on your head prior to imaging. If a custom mask is selected, the mask can be made prior to the actual day of treatment to help streamline the day’s events.

2

Imaging

Once the head immobilization is complete, you will be escorted to the MRI or CT procedure rooms for appropriate imaging. These images will then be used by your neurosurgeon and a team of radiation specialists to identify the targeted treatment area. 

Both of these imaging procedures are painless. Imaging is generally performed on the day of your procedure, but under special circumstances, it may be performed one to two days prior.

3

Determining the Treatment Plan

After your imaging results have been received, the team of radiation oncologists, neurosurgeons and physicists will identify the targeted treatment area and plan the delivery of your personalized treatment. Once the customized treatment plan has been completed, your doctor will review it with you. 

At that point, your doctor will be able to tell you how long your procedure will take. In most cases, the Gamma Knife procedure takes anywhere from 10 to 70 minutes to complete.

4

Treatment Room

You will be accompanied by your neurosurgeon and/or radiation oncologist and Nurse Navigator into the Gamma Knife treatment room. They will help orient you on the treatment table, secure the head immobilization and answer any questions you may have. The team will do a thorough check of the Leksell Gamma Knife Icon and your Nurse Navigator will prepare you for the procedure.

  • The procedure is painless and silent. Soft music will be playing in the background.
  • You can speak with and hear your doctor throughout the procedure.
  • Most treatments are completed in under 70 minutes.

5

Post Treatment

When your treatment is complete, the Leksell Gamma Knife Icon will automatically move the table out of the unit, which allows you to easily dismount. You will then be escorted back to the Quiet Room for headframe removal and to receive a post-treatment assessment.

6

Patient is Discharged

You can expect to go home within an hour of the completion of your Gamma Knife treatment. Before you head home, the Nurse Navigator will review discharge instructions and coordinate a follow-up appointment visit with you. Most patients return to their normal activities within 24 to 48 hours.

Schedule a Consultation and Tour Our Facility

At The Valley Gamma Knife Center, you have access to a team of highly skilled neurosurgeons, radiation oncologists, physicists, nurses and experienced staff to treat your unique needs. As a part of the Valley Health System, we believe the overall patient journey should be at the center of your treatment.

Meet The Team

The Gamma Knife Center at The Valley Hospital is staffed by highly qualified physicians who have treated hundreds of patients and leverage a multidisciplinary approach to provide better outcomes. Our support staff, including Nurse Navigators and Patient Financial Advocates, are by your side through every step of your journey to recovery.

Get Your Questions Answered, By a Real Person.

Our Patient Liaison is here to help you understand your next step. After discussing your specific case, she can help you navigate your medical records, answer insurance questions, and connect you with one of our nurses, at no charge to you.