Gamma Rays: Not Just Science Fiction

Gamma rays seem a thing of science fiction and comic book lore. However, gamma radiation is actually fairly prevalent in our everyday lives and has several uses, including sterilizing of medical equipment and keeping foods fresh.


Perhaps the most important usage of gamma rays is gamma knife surgery.

Gamma Knife Surgery

It sounds even more ludicrous than gamma rays, but gamma knife surgery is a safe and effective treatment for brain tumors, lesions, and functional disorders.

Contrary to the name, gamma knife surgery does not utilize an actual knife and is a relatively non-invasive procedure. Instead of a physical knife, the surgery makes use of highly concentrated doses of gamma radiation. The gamma rays are targeted directly at the tumor, neutralizing the problem with no damage to surrounding areas.

The Procedure

The procedure is accomplished through a simple four-step process: affixing a head frame, imaging, planning, and the actual treatment.

The frame: The treatment requires a stereotactic head frame, used as a means of accurately pinpointing the target tumor or lesion. The frame is attached to a patient’s head using four screws, preventing any potential movement during imaging and treatment.

Imaging: Once the head frame has been properly secured, the patient can proceed to imaging. Whether it’s MRI, CT, or an angiogram, imaging can be done through a number of means, which the treatment physician will decide upon given each individual case.

Getting an image of the brain is important in determining the precise shape, size, position, and severity of the tumor or lesion in the brain. Imaging is just a better way of properly seeing and targeting the problem.

Treatment planning: You can take some time to rest now as your physicians plan out the treatment at hand. Note that every individual patient is subject to a different plan, specific to his or her medical issue.

The treatment plan is specially designed by your doctor with some assistance from another specialist and a computer, working out exactly how the treatment should be performed.

The treatment: Treatment begins once your doctor has worked out an effective plan. You will spend the entire procedure lying on a treatment couch. The treatment is silent and completely painless, and you will be awake throughout the entire process, communicating with doctors and nurses, and otherwise relaxing as best as possible.

If you suffer from any brain tumors or disorders, like trigeminal neuralgia or acoustic neuroma, gamma knife surgery might be the safest and most effective treatment for you.


For more resources about gamma knife surgery or about treatment for brain tumors or even about acoustic neuroma gamma knife, please review these links.

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