Gamma Knife Radiation
Developed by Dr. Lars Leksell, a Swedish neurosurgeon and the pioneer of stereotactic radiosurgery, the Gamma Knife® is not a knife at all, but still acts like a surgeon’s scalpel in a strategic way to deliver targeted radiation that destroys tumors and treats other brain disorders that were once treated only by opening the skull. The Gamma Knife® allows neurosurgeons an extraordinary precision, an exactness measured by less than half a millimeter, about the width of a human hair. More than 200 beams of low-dose radiation from cobalt-60 sources converge to focus exclusively on the abnormal tissue area, preventing injury to the surrounding healthy tissue.
This intense dose of radiation directed precisely to benign or malignant tumors, causes the DNA and proteins in the cell to render themselves unable to divide. The tumor cells can then no longer live, and slowly die over time. The waste is then removed by circulating white blood cells. For blood vessel defects like arterio-venous malformations (AVMs), the radiation causes the blood vessels to thicken and scar until flow ceases. For functional problems like trigeminal neuralgia, the protective covering or insulation around the pain nerves is destroyed, thus making the nerve unable to conduct an impulse of pain.
Gamma Knife® treatments take place in a single day without an incision, allowing patients to quickly resume their normal activities. The non-invasive procedure means lower costs and risks for the patient, compared to traditional neurosurgery.
The effect of the treatment occurs gradually, sometimes taking six months or longer.
Have more questions? Call the Lancaster Gamma Knife® Center at 800- 860-9949 or 717-544-3065.