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What Conditions Does Gamma Knife Radiosurgery Treat?


WRITTEN BY: Neurosurgery
Friday, February 26th, 2016

Gamma Knife® radiosurgery is a sophisticated technology that is used to treat a variety of brain conditions, including:

  • Tumors
  • Blood vessel problems
  • Cranial nerve conditions

The procedure uses hundreds of weak beams of radiation that pass harmlessly through the healthy tissue and irradiate the diseased tissue where they meet together.

Conditions Treated by Gamma Knife Radiosurgery

Some examples of conditions that Gamma Knife radiosurgery effectively effectively treats are:

  • Trigeminal Neuralgia – This is a condition where the individual has severe facial pain on the forehead, cheek, and jaw, usually only on one side. This can be a sharp stabbing pain, or a long burning sensation. Gamma Knife radiosurgery treats the trigeminal nerve, blocking the pain signals and relieving the pain.
  • Brain Metastases – Brain metastases are a type of cancer that travels to the brain after starting in other parts of the body. With precise accuracy, Gamma Knife radiosurgery delivers low-intensity radiation beams to the cancer cells in the brain, causing them to shrink.
  • Acoustic Neuroma – The acoustic nerve brings signals from the ear to the brain. An acoustic neuroma is a benign tumor that affects hearing and balance. The Gamma Knife can precisely target this tumor, without damaging the surrounding tissue.
  • Essential Tremor – Essential tremor is a nervous disorder that causes uncontrollable shaking movements in the head, arms, and hands. It can affect daily activities and even the person’s voice. Fortunately, a small part of the brain is responsible for these uncontrolled movements, and the Gamma Knife can target this area to reduce the tremors without affecting the surrounding brain tissue.
  • Meningioma – The brain and spinal cord are surrounded by sheaths called the meninges, and a meningioma is a tumor that arises from one of these sheaths. These tumors may cause memory difficulties, headaches, hearing loss, and seizures. Gamma Knife radiosurgery can treat these tumors without cutting into the skull.
  • Arteriovenous Malformations – When arteries and veins in the brain are incorrectly developed, the result is defective blood flow. Arteriovenous malformations can cause seizures and headaches, and in rare cases, death. Gamma Knife radiation destroys the cells in these malformed vessels, causing them to gradually close off.

If you would like more information on Gamma Knife radiosurgery for these or other conditions, please contact us at the Center for Image-Guided Neurosurgery at UPMC, the nation’s leading provider of Gamma Knife procedures. Call us at 1-877-986-9862 to schedule an appointment to discuss your treatment options.

neurosurgery

Neurosurgery

UPMC is ranked among the top hospitals in the nation for neurosurgical care by U.S. News & World Report. In addition, UPMC is one of the few medical centers in the U.S. – and throughout the world – with expertise in the full array of surgical options for brain and spine conditions. Our world-renowned experts are committed to finding the best treatment approach for each patient, maximizing the benefits of surgery while minimizing the risks. Read More