Realizing you or somebody you love is suffering from a brain tumour can be devastating. In the past few decades, advancements in brain tumour surgery have come a long way and now invasive surgery is not always required. One particular treatment, gamma knife surgery, has been found to work on benign and malignant tumours and other brain disorders. This has been the latest brain tumour surgery advancements.
Gamma knife surgery is a form of radiation treatment that specifically targets the tumour and leaves the area around it relatively unharmed. Despite the name, no knife is used in the procedure; rather, a determined dose of radiation beams are aimed at the tumor. This procedure only requires one treatment session and risks associated with it are very low.
The precise nature of using gamma knife surgery as a treatment for brain tumors is accomplished by using about 200 beams of cobalt radiation and focusing them from all angles at the tumor. The patient wears a helmet to help direct the beams. Individual beams do not damage surrounding brain tissue because they contain very low doses of radiation. It is only when the beams converge on the tumour that there is enough radiation to do damage.
Wondering what brain tumors and disorders gamma knife treatment is best used for?
An acoustic neuroma (also called a vestibular schwannoma) is a benign tumor of the vestibular nerve that begins at the base of the skull and gradually expands into the skull cavity. It appears near the inner ear and symptoms include slow and progressive destruction of hearing in the affected ear, a sense of imbalance and an altered gait, vertigo, nausea and vomiting.
Acoustic neuroma radiosurgery does not physically remove the tumor but the process does allow doctors to manage the problem. Treatment can stop the tumor’s growth and cause it to shrink. A benefit of radiosurgery is that no incisions are required, which are necessary in alternative procedures.
Trigeminal Neuralgia (TN):
Trigeminal neuralgia is a neuropathic disorder caused by the compression of a person’s trigeminal nerve(s). It is believed that 1 in 15,000 people suffer from TN, with most cases found in people over 50 years old. TN creates sharp pain in a person’s face, lasting anywhere from a few seconds to a couple minutes, with multiple occurrences each day.
There is no known cure for TN; however, studies have shown that when using a gamma knife, 83 percent of patients reported being free of pain a year after the procedure. It is a preferred treatment method because no incisions are made and it works well for patients who cannot be put under general anesthesia or who are on blood clot medicine.
Looking for reasons why you should undergo gamma knife surgery for one of these conditions?
1. Over 300,000 patients have been treated with gamma knife surgery.
2. As of 2005, there were 220 gamma knife systems installed worldwide, with 100 located in the United States.
3. More than 2,000 peer-reviewed articles have been published about gamma knife surgery.
4. Using the gamma knife has long-term results dating back to 1968, with a 15-year published study.
5. Gamma Knife surgery can be 30 to 70 percent less costly than open surgery.
What Are Your Views?
Were you aware of these brain tumour surgery advancements? Did you know about Gamma Knife surgery? Has anyone know to you undergone Gamma Knife surgery? Tell us what were their experiences and your views about it in the comments below.
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