About Gamma Knife Treatment

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Will I experience pain when the stereotactic frame is attached?

Is Gamma Knife treatment painful?

How long does Gamma Knife treatment take?

How does the Gamma Knife deliver a high dose of radiation to my tumor while sparing healthy tissue?

Will I be radioactive after Gamma Knife treatment?

Can the Gamma Knife treat sites outside the head?

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Will I experience pain when the stereotactic frame is attached?

The Gamma Knife Center at Barrow Neurological Institute is one of only a few centers in the United States where patients are placed under anesthesia while the stereotactic frames are being attached. The type of anesthesia that is used is known as conscious sedation.

With this procedure, you can expect to wake up about 20 minutes after the placement of your frame and have no recollection of the process. The pin sites where the frame is attached to your skull are injected with a local anesthetic that lasts 8 to 12 hours. Your doctors may prescribe medication to manage your pain if it persists after the local anesthesia wears off.

 

Is Gamma Knife treatment painful?

Gamma Knife treatment is not painful, and you will not see, hear, smell, feel, or otherwise sense the gamma radiation beams that are administered during treatment.

When the frame is placed, some positions may be uncomfortable for you during treatment. If that is the case, every effort is made to make you comfortable, using extra pillows and padding as necessary.

 

How long does Gamma Knife treatment take?

The total treatment time depends on the size and complexity of your lesion and on the dose or doses to be delivered. Your treatment plan is customized for your specific medical needs, and your treatment may last anywhere from 15 minutes to 4 hours.

For longer procedures, our staff will take extra care to make sure you remain calm and comfortable for the entire session.

 

How does the Gamma Knife deliver a high dose of radiation to my tumor while sparing healthy tissue?

The Gamma Knife machine directs 201 individual beams of radiation to a tiny individual point. The dose of radiation is only lethal to cells within the immediate vicinity (0.2 mm) of this point. The individual beams are not strong enough to damage the surrounding health tissue.

 

Will I be radioactive after Gamma Knife treatment?

Exposure to Gamma Knife radiation will not make you or your clothing radioactive.

 

Can the Gamma Knife treat sites outside the head?

Gamma Knife cannot be used to treat lesions outside of your head.

Cyberknife is a similar technology that can be used to treat tumors in other parts of the body. Learn more about the Barrow Cyberknife Center.

 

How can we help you?

For more information, please call 1-800-315-0980 or (602) 406-6075 .
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Barrow Neurological Institute
350 W. Thomas Road
Phoenix, AZ 85013
(602) 406-3000