What to Expect During Treatment
Gamma knife treatment is painless and noiseless. The entire procedure takes one to four hours, with the actual treatment being performed in a single session that lasts 20 to 60 minutes. Patients typically go home on the same day. Treatment requires the combined skills of the Gamma Knife Center team, including a neurosurgeon, radiation oncologist, neuroradiologist, medical physicist, imaging technologist, specially trained nurse and radiation therapist.
The effects of the treatment occur over an extended period of time, ranging from a few weeks or months to several years. The results will be monitored by your own physician using MRIs, CT scans or arteriograms (DSAs). Sometimes other tests such as audiometries or visual fields may be used. Our staff will remain in contact with your physician to monitor your progress.
Here are some guidelines on how to prepare for your gamma knife treatment:
- Please let us know of any medications you take regularly so we can determine whether or not you should take them on the day of your treatment.
- Do not eat or drink after midnight the evening before your treatment.
- Do shampoo your hair and scalp the evening before your procedure with the shampoo we will provide. Rinse with water and repeat a second time.
- The day of the treatment, do not wear any jewelry, makeup, or hairpieces. It is a good idea to leave all valuable items at home.
- If you wish, you may bring a favorite album to listen to during the treatment.
Before the procedure, you’ll be asked to sign a standard consent form, which gives our team permission to treat you.
Each step in the treatment process is focused on your comfort and well-being, while achieving superior clinical outcomes and efficiency.
- Frame Attachment: A stereotactic lightweight frame is secured to the head. You are given a local anesthetic to numb the area where the frame’s pins will be secured.
- Imaging: Scans are taken immediately before the treatment to determine the precise shape, size and location of the target. The stereotactic frame is identifiable on MRIs and other imaging, and is used as a reference to pinpoint the area to be treated.
- Treatment Plan: Images are then used to create a tailored treatment plan to enable an optimal radiation dose. The headframe is attached to the treatment couch, keeping the patient’s head precisely positioned during treatment.
- Treatment: Targets are automatically irradiated according to the treatment plan. Throughout the procedure you are monitored closely and our clinical team makes sure you are always comfortable.
Patients typically return home following treatment and can resume normal activities. Follow-up appointments will be conducted by our clinical team in an outpatient clinic at Rhode Island Hospital.