This is a radiation therapy, which is otherwise called as Brain Stereotactic Radiosurgery and it is a therapy used for treating not only tumors, but also other types of abnormalities in the brain and the nerves surrounding the brain. In this procedure, a specialized device will focus close to 200 tiny beams of radiation on a tumor or other target area. Even though, each of these beams has a very little effect on the tissues of the brain it passes through, a strong dose of radiation reaches the site, where the beams meet each other.
The accuracy of this procedure results in minimal damage to the healthy tissues that surround the target. In some cases, this procedure may have a lower risk of side-effects as compared to other types of radiation therapy. In addition, this method is stated as the safer option as compared to tradition surgery in the brain. This is generally a single-sitting therapy completed in a single day.
Why is this procedure done?
Generally, this procedure is carried out by Radiation Oncologists and they state that this is generally the suitable alternative to standard brain neurosurgery that needs incision in the skull, in the brain tissue and in the surrounding membranes. This procedure is generally performed when:
• A tumor or other abnormal things are found in the brain at the area that is hard to reach through standard neurosurgery
• When an individual is not healthy enough to undergo standard procedure.
• When a patient wishes to opt for less invasive procedure
Gamma knife radiosurgery is performed for the following conditions in general:
Brain tumor: This procedure is carried out for management of both cancerous and non-cancerous tumors in the brain. With this procedure, the genetic materials in the tumor cells are damaged and this brings down the ability of the cells to reproduce themselves and they may even die. This will result in the tumor to gradually shrink.
Arteriovenous malformation: This is a condition, wherein there will be abnormal tangles of veins and arteries in the brain. For patients with this condition, blood generally flows from the arteries to veins and during this process, smaller blood vessels are bypassed. This condition will generally disrupt the normal flow of blood and it can lead to bleeding as well. With the help of radiosurgery, the surgeon will destroy the AVM and this will cause the blood vessels to close off over time.
Trigeminal neuralgia: This is a condition, where one or both trigeminal nerves have a disorder. Generally, these nerves are responsible for relaying sensory information between the brain and the areas of lower jaw, cheek and forehead. When a patient has this condition, he/she will experience a disabling facial pain that will give the feeling of an electric shock. For this condition, Brain Stereotactic Radiosurgery is performed and the patient will experience relief from the facial pain within a few days to few months.
The other conditions for which this procedure is performed include acoustic neuroma and pituitary tumors.