Common Gamma Knife Questions

Please see below for common questions and answers related to Gamma Knife treatment. Also feel free to submit a question online and a member of our team will respond. We will post additional questions and answers as we receive them.

With the Gamma Knife, is there an actual incision?

No. Despite its name, there is no knife. It’s called Gamma Knife because of the surgical precision and effectiveness. So there’s no incision, no blood and no complications that occur with surgery.

What types of conditions are treated using the Gamma Knife?

Following is a partial list of conditions treated using the Gamma Knife at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital.

Click on each for further information:

Because it’s noninvasive, Gamma Knife surgery can even be used to treat metastases in surgically inaccessible areas of the brain, such as the brainstem.

What is stereotactic radiosurgery?

Radiosurgery is the delivery of a single, large dose of radiation to a specific target in the brain with surgical precision. The radiation reacts on a molecular level with the cancer cells and stop their reproduction, which kills the cancer. Stereotactic refers to precise positioning in three-dimensional space. In Gamma Knife surgery, this means a 3-D reference frame is attached to the patient’s head during the procedure.

How many treatments will I require?

The noninvasive Gamma Knife can isolate and deliver a high dose of radiation to one or more brain tumors during a single treatment session.

What are some of the side effects of Gamma Knife treatment?

Some people may complain of a headache, which can be treated with an over-the-counter pain reliever. There is no loss of hair or nausea, as with some treatments.

How long will I be in the hospital after Gamma Knife treatment?

Most people leave the hospital the same day and resume normal activities in a day or two.

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