Patients are often very pleased to learn they
have a non-invasive alternative to an open neurosurgical procedure. Most patients who
are coming to us are aware Gamma Knife represents an effective alternative to surgery and they’re
really here to get more information about what to expect during the procedure, how likely
this is to work, and whether there are going to be side effects.
We use Gamma Knife also to treat benign condition such as trigeminal neuralgia, meningiomas,
which are usually benign growths in the brain, as well as acoustic neuromas which are benign
tumors that grow along the acoustic nerve and cause problems with hearing or balance
so all of these conditions are things that grow relatively slowly oftentimes. For trigeminal
neuralgia, there is no growth but Gamma Knife is used to either stunt the growth or improve
the condition that the patients have. Mainly Gamma Knife treats tumors of the brain that
are not totally suitable for open surgery for different reasons because of the location
because of the size, because of the numbers. For benign conditions such as meningiomas,
pituitary adenomas, acoustic neuromas, the goal of the treatment is to keep the tumor
from enlarging and oftentimes, we’ll see it slowly shrink over time as well. An acoustic
neuroma or schwannoma is a growth that occurs along the acoustic nerve, often it encroaches
upon the internal auditory canal near the ear so patients can have symptoms related
to this such as hearing deficits, ringing in the ear, and in some cases, vestibular
symptoms, its the vestibular cochlear nerve so it has has to do with both hearing and
balance and oftentimes we will treat a patients’ vestibular schwannoma when it is growing.
In some cases, if the patient already has symptoms, it is to prevent those symptoms
from getting worse. So overtime, these usually stabilize and eventually will start to shrink
but because they are such slow growng lesions, they tend to shrink slowly as well.