Radiosurgery is the precise use of radiation to treat tumors and neurological conditions, including painful nerve conditions and blood vessel problems. Another name for it is stereotactic radiosurgery. Gamma Knife® and CyberKnife® are two systems used to perform radiosurgery. These two name-brand radiosurgery systems deliver different forms of radiation.
Gamma Knife radiosurgery is used to treat small tumors and other neurological conditions of the brain. CyberKnife can treat diseases affecting many organs and body areas, including the brain and spinal cord.
At Dignity Health, our neurosurgeons offer excellence in radiosurgery in Arizona. If you or a loved one would like to learn more about options for treatment, Find a Doctor today.
Why Radiosurgery is Performed
Radiosurgery is less invasive than traditional surgery, which often requires general anesthesia and incisions to access the problem area in the body. Radiation works at the cell level. It can be used to make tumors smaller, eliminate abnormal blood vessels, disrupt nerves that are causing debilitating pain, and shrink specific areas of the brain causing seizures, among other uses.
What to Expect With Radiosurgery at Dignity Health
Before your procedure, you will have imaging exams to help your medical team pinpoint the exact location to target with radiation. A nurse or technician may insert an intravenous (IV) line in your hand or arm before the scans so the team can give you medication and contrast (a) material to help them see internal structures through it.
If you are undergoing Gamma Knife radiosurgery, the team will fit a headframe to your scalp to keep your head stable and direct radiation to the desired location. They numb your scalp before securing the frame. The frame is connected to the Gamma Knife machine. During the procedure, the machine may turn your head to precisely deliver radiation to the target. Gamma Knife radiosurgery typically takes between one and four hours.
CyberKnife radiosurgery is similar, except you will not be secured to a frame during treatment. Instead, you will lie on a table that slides into a machine that delivers radiation. A robotic arm will move around you, delivering radiation precisely to the targeted areas. A CyberKnife session takes anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours.
Recovery After Radiosurgery
You should be able to go home about an hour after your treatment is complete. The next day, you can resume your usual activities. Although complications from radiosurgery are not common, tell your doctor if you experience any unusual symptoms, including headache or confusion.
Radiosurgery is a noninvasive way to achieve pain relief, reduce tremors, and shrink or even eliminate brain tumors. With personalized and successful treatment from a dedicated team, patients can significantly improve their well-being and quality of life.
Neurosurgeons at Dignity Health treat tumors and neurological conditions with precise radiosurgery in Arizona.