Gamma knife is a current treatment method that allows neurosurgeons to operate on abnormal areas of the brain without the need for any incisions. A Gamma knife is applied using a stereotactic radiosurgery technique, ensuring that gamma rays destroy the coordinated diseased brain tissue.

The system is based on the principle that gamma rays from 192 spherically located and separate sources, each of which has an energy that will not damage the normal brain tissue on its own, are combined in the diseased brain tissue, and very high power is transferred to the diseased tissue and destroys this tissue. For this reason, this surgical method, which differs from radiotherapy treatment, the treatment is completed in a single session. It is generally a preferred method in cases where open neurosurgery is not possible or carries a high risk.

The effectiveness of gamma knife surgery depends on the sensitivity of the device used in the treatment and the methods used to detect abnormal tissue in the brain.


How is Gamma Knife Made?

Before the procedure, doctors first evaluate the patient’s suitability for the Gamma Knife method by performing the necessary examinations. Suppose the patient applies the Gamma Knife method, and the stages of the procedure pass. Before starting the operation, the surgeon puts a frame on the patient’s head, takes measurements, an d applies local anesthesia to the patient. Afterward, they fix the attached frame to the patient’s head and take an MRI. They make calculations on the images obtained from the MRI. While calculating, they ensure that the targeted tumor tissue receives the maximum radiation dose and that this beam’s surrounding tissues are affected at a minimum level. After making the necessary calculations, they place the patient in the machine. They complete the process by giving a beam at once. Before the Gamma Knife operation, the preparation process takes 1.5-2 hours. The patient’s stay in the machine varies according to the lesion size but averages 1.5-2 hours. After the procedure, they apply serum to the patient and give painkillers. After the operation, patients are usually discharged on the same day. Thanks to developing technology, treatment can be performed using a mask instead of a frame. The most significant advantage of using masks in therapy is that it provides easy access to tumors that press on the optic nerve.

In Which Diseases Is Gamma Knife Used?

Gamma Knife is widely used for different health problems. Brain metastases are the most common disease. In addition, Gamma Knife beam technology is a preferred treatment method for meningiomas. Meningioma is not the brain itself; They are benign tumors that originate from the brain membrane, grow over time, and often damage the brain tissue. The Gamma Knife method has been used for many years in treating meningiomas. Another disease in which Gamma Knife technology is used is trigeminal neuralgia, which causes severe facial pain.

In addition, the Gamma Knife treatment method is also used in acoustic neuroma disease, which can cause hearing and balance loss. Tumors that originate from the auditory and balance nerves in the brain and are usually benign are called acoustic neuromas. Especially lesions less than 3.5 cm are very suitable for the Gamma Knife method. Another type of disease for which Gamma Knife radiation therapy is used in tumors is pituitary adenomas. Open surgery is primarily preferred in pituitary adenomas, but Gamma Knife technology is often used to complement surgery to reduce the possibility of tumor recurrence.


What types of brain tumors can be treated with a gamma knife?

With the Gamma knife, both benign brain tumors (meningiomas, pituitary adenomas, acoustic neuromas) and malignant brain tumors (brain metastases, glial tumors) can treat. Furthermore, the gamma knife is used in vascular brain diseases (arteriovenous malformations and cavernomas) and functional brain diseases (trigeminal neuralgia, parkinsonism, epilepsy) apart from brain tumors.


What are the advantages of gamma knife treatment?

  • Gamma knife is the only non-invasive “surgical treatment” method. In other words, it provides certainty of surgical treatment without opening the skull.
  • One day after the Gamma knife treatment, the patient can return to his everyday social and business life.
  • The fact that general anesthesia is not used in the treatment makes it possible to treat patients who cannot undergo open surgery.
  • Does not require hospitalization.
  • The fact that the hospital stay is extremely short, there is no need for intensive care, and the patient can return to work immediately reduces the cost.


Are there any side effects of treatment with Gamma Knife?

As with any treatment, some side effects may occur after Gamma Knife treatment. It is not possible to treat every patient with the Gamma Knife treatment method. For this reason, some laboratory tests are performed to determine whether the patient is suitable for the procedure. Rarely, some patients may experience side effects due to Gamma energy applied after the procedure. However, the possibility of side effects after Gamma Knife treatment, performed with the correct methods by a team of experts in the field, is very low.