If you have a tumor or other anomaly in your brain, your doctor may suggest Gamma Knife® radiosurgery.
Despite its name, a Gamma Knife procedure isn't surgery.
Rather, it's a painless treatment that uses radiation beams to target tumors and lesions. There are no incisions or stitches in Gamma Knife treatment.
To make an appointment or learn more:
Gamma Knife radiosurgery is a non-invasive and highly precise radiation treatment for brain tumors and other issues.
Highly focused gamma rays target the affected part of the brain while lessening exposure to surrounding healthy tissue.
Our experts in Gamma Knife radiosurgery at UPMC can treat an array of brain disorders.
The results after Gamma Knife treatment differ based on the type of tumor:
Treatment can reduce the size or limit the growth of the tumor with little risk of lasting nerve damage.
Treatment damages the genetic material in the tumor's cells so they're no longer able to reproduce. The cells die and the tumor may gradually shrink.
Treatment can shrink the tumor and lessen the disruption of the pituitary hormones.
You need to stop eating and drinking by midnight the night before your Gamma Knife treatment.
Ask your neurosurgeon about any prescription drugs you take. They'll tell you what medicines you can and can't take that day.
The day of your treatment:
Before the treatment begins, doctors will:
The Gamma Knife treatment takes between 20 minutes and several hours. You'll have an IV with medicine to help you relax, but you'll be awake the whole time.
The treatment itself is painless.
Here's what happens during Gamma Knife radiosurgery:
Once the treatment is over, doctors will watch you to make sure you recover well. You can eat and drink as soon as you're able.
You may be able to go home the same day as your treatment. You'll need someone to drive you, as the medicine you get can make you sleepy.
If your doctor says it's OK, you can go back to your normal routine the next day.
You may need just one Gamma Knife treatment. Or, based on your health issue, you may need more sessions. Your doctor will give you more details.
The side effects from Gamma Knife surgery are typically less than those from standard brain surgery.
Gamma Knife radiation is less likely to damage the healthy tissue around the treated area.
But as with any health treatment, there are risks.
Gamma Knife® side effects may include:
Life expectancy after Gamma Knife® surgery depends on your health problem.
Your doctor will want to see you for follow-up tests like MRIs and CT scans. They'll be able to tell you more about your prognosis.
Over its 30-year history at UPMC, Gamma Knife radiosurgery has proved effective for more than 18,000 people with:
UPMC installed the first North American Gamma Knife in 1987. Since then, we've introduced and pioneered technological improvements.
Today, the Center for Image-Guided Neurosurgery at UPMC leads the nation in Gamma Knife treatments. It's also a major teaching center for neurosurgeons, radiation oncologists, and health physicists from around the globe.
UPMC is one of the first in the U.S. to use the Gamma Knife Icon™. This is the most advanced model of Gamma Knife radiosurgery.
The GK Icon's cutting-edge technology:
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