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Gamma Knife (Stereotactic Radiosurgery)
MEDICAL ANIMATION TRANSCRIPT: The Gamma Knife, also called stereotactic radiosurgery, is a type of radiation treatment used commonly for brain tumors. It may also be used for other abnormal conditions of the head. The Gamma Knife is a non-invasive surgical procedure that doesn't require incisions, which are cuts through the skin. Instead a machine precisely focuses and delivers about 200 beams of radiation onto a target area inside the head. The radiation only kills abnormal cells while sparing the normal tissue around them. The Gamma Knife treats small brain tumors, blood vessel malformations, and nerve conditions that are hard to reach or too risky to treat in other ways. The Gamma Knife head frame has four pins or screws. After numbing the scalp, the doctor will attach the head frame with the screws. The frame prevents the head movement and helps guide the radiation beams. With the head frame in place, an imaging study, such as an MRI or CT Scan, will be done to determine the exact size, shape, and location of the target to treat. The treatment team will use the imaging studies and advanced software to create a treatment plan. Then, the patient will lie down on the Gamma Knife couch. A radiation helmet will be positioned over the head frame. The helmet contains holes that allow only the programmed radiation from the treatment plan to pass through. With the helmet in place, the couch will slide into the radiation unit. The procedure is silent and painless. It takes a few minutes to an hour or more depending on the size and shape of the treatment area. The effects on the tumor occur over a period of time after the procedure. For more information, talk to your doctor.
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