If you are going to have Gamma Knife® radiosurgery, you may be wondering what kind of recovery you can expect after the procedure.
One of the main benefits of Gamma Knife treatment is the lack of complications and long recovery time that may come with traditional surgery. There is a low risk for infection and no trauma to the surrounding tissue, nor are there broad restrictions on daily activity.
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What to Expect After Gamma Knife Radiosurgery
After the treatment is complete, the frame that helped keep your head in position will be removed. The pin sites will be cleaned and covered and you will receive instructions on how to care for the sites. Some patients have a headache or nausea, which is easily treated by oral medication. You will be released that day from the hospital, or possibly kept one night for observation.
The goal of Gamma Knife radiosurgery is to disrupt the cells’ ability to replicate by radiating the cells in the tumor, nerve, or brain region. You should anticipate a lessening of symptoms over time, rather than immediately after the procedure, so keep that in mind as you go forward.
Living your life after surgery
After the procedure, you will be able to eat and drink and resume all activities that you could do prior to the treatment. Some people are tired for a few days, but with adequate rest, recover their energy.
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Potential Complications from Gamma Knife
Gamma Knife radiosurgery has few complications. The most common are:
- Irritation at the pin insertion site and scalp
These issues typically resolve soon after the treatment, and can be treated with medication. Some people may also temporarily lose some hair.
Rarely, people experience brain swelling, severe infection at the pin site, and seizures, and even more rarely, vision or hearing loss because of the treatment location. These risks are minimal, but if you are concerned, you should speak with your doctors about the risks versus benefits.
The Center for Image-Guided Neurosurgery at UPMC is proud to be the nation’s leading provider of Gamma Knife procedures, with more than 13,500 successful procedures performed since 1987. For more information, or to schedule an appointment with one of our Gamma Knife specialists, call us at 1-877-986-9862 or contact us.
The UPMC Department of Neurosurgery is the largest academic neurosurgical provider in the United States. We perform more than 11,000 procedures each year. We treat conditions of the brain, skull base, spine, and nerves, including the most complex disorders. Whether your condition requires surgery or not, we strive to provide the most advanced, complete care possible. Our surgeons are developing new techniques and tools, including minimally invasive treatments. U.S. News & World Report ranks neurology and neurosurgery at UPMC Presbyterian Shadyside as among the best in the country. We also rank among the top neurosurgery departments in the U.S. for National Institutes of Health funding, a benchmark in research excellence.