Table of contents:
- The Advantages of Gamma Knife Surgery
- Indications for Gamma Knife Surgery
- Contraindications for Gamma Knife Surgery
- Gamma Knife Surgery Warning
- Preparation for Gamma Knife Surgery
- Gamma Knife Surgery Procedure
- Gamma Knife Surgery Complications
- When to go to the doctor
Gamma knife surgery is a type of stereotactic surgery technique that uses gamma rays. This surgery is generally performed to treat tumors in the brain or upper spine
Although it is called gamma knife surgery, this procedure is done without making an incision on the scalp to open the skull bone. Gamma knife surgery is performed by emitting hundreds of gamma rays to the affected area of the brain.
Gamma knife surgery can treat brain tumors that are difficult to reach by conventional surgery, or when the patient is too old to undergo surgery. This operation is performed by a neurosurgeon.
Currently, gamma knife surgery is available in several hospitals in Indonesia.
The Advantages of Gamma Knife Surgery
The main advantage of gamma knife surgery is that the doctor does not need to make an incision to open the patient's skull. In addition, there are still advantages of gamma knife surgery, including:
- No pain
- Reaching tumor parts that are difficult to reach by conventional surgery
- Treat multiple tumors at the same time
- Reducing the risk of complications from conventional brain surgery, such as bleeding or infection from the incision
- Prevents damage to he althy tissue around the tumor
- Accelerate the recovery process of patients after surgery
Indications for Gamma Knife Surgery
Gamma knife surgery can be used to treat brain tumors. Types of tumors that can be treated with gamma knife surgery include:
- Tumor from a certain body part that spreads to the brain
- Tumor that grows in the nerve connecting the ear and brain or acoustic neuroma
In addition, gamma knife surgery is also used to treat disorders of the brain, such as:
- blood vessel abnormalities or arteriovenous malformations
- Chronic pain due to disorders of the trigeminal nerve (trigeminal neuralgia)
- Cushing's disease
Contraindications for Gamma Knife Surgery
Various diseases mentioned above can be treated with gamma knife surgery. However, there are several factors that prevent a person from undergoing gamma knife surgery, namely:
- The tumor is larger or located near the brainstem
- Children under 14 months, because they have skull bones that have not closed completely
- The tumor is located lower than the base of the skull so that gamma rays cannot reach that part
Gamma Knife Surgery Warning
To prevent interruptions during surgery, tell your doctor if you experience any of the following conditions:
- Has an allergy to certain types of anesthetic
- Having implants in the body, such as cochlear implants, pacemakers, and metallic implants in the spine
- Suffering from lung disease
- Unable to lie on back for 30–60 minutes
- Using diabetes medication, either by drinking or by injection
- Has a phobia of narrow spaces
Preparation for Gamma Knife Surgery
Preparations that need to be made by patients are shampooing the day before undergoing gamma knife surgery. Furthermore, on the day of surgery, patients are advised not to tie their hair or use hair ornaments. After that, the patient has to wear special clothes from the hospital.
There are several stages of preparation for surgery carried out by doctors, namely:
- Ask the patient to lie down on the operating table
- Using a helmet-shaped device on the patient's head, to keep the head position from changing during the procedure
- Give a local anesthetic on the forehead and back of the head, to tighten the helmet pins on the skull
- Do a scan with a CT scan or MRI, to detect the location, size, and shape of the tumor to be treated
Furthermore, based on the results of the scan, the doctor will determine the treatment steps, including the number and placement of the right radiation beams.
Gamma Knife Surgery Procedure
Before the gamma knife surgery is performed, the doctor will put an IV in the patient. Next, the doctor will move the table into a machine that delivers gamma rays.
The doctor will position the patient's head in such a way that the position of the gamma rays hits the right part. Patients can voice complaints during the operation, via the helmet-mounted microphone. Please note, during gamma knife surgery, the patient will not feel pain.
The gamma knife surgery process can take from 30 minutes to 3 hours, depending on the size, shape and location of the tumor. After the operation is complete, the table will be removed from the machine and the helmet on the patient's head will be removed.
Gamma Knife Surgery Complications
Gamma knife surgery is painless, but the use of radiation can cause complications such as:
- Easy to get tired
- Hair loss
- Brain haemorrhage
- Swelling of the brain
- Numbness or tingling in the head
- Injury to blood vessels in the brain
When to go to the doctor
If you experience certain complaints after undergoing gamma knife surgery, immediately consult a doctor or visit the nearest emergency room. Complaints that need to be checked immediately include:
- Helmet pin marks on head feel warm to the touch
- Helmet pin marks on the head are discharge, have a strong smell, or are dark in color
- fever over 38 degrees Celsius
- Nausea and vomiting
- Severe headache
- Difficulty speaking
If there are no complaints after undergoing gamma knife surgery, the patient can carry out activities as usual the next day. However, if other treatments are needed, the patient will be advised to undergo inpatient treatment in a hospital.