What is a Gamma Knife?

Memphis Regional Gamma Knife Center uses the Leksell Gamma Knife®, which is actually not a knife.

Gamma Knife is a revolutionary tool that allows neurosurgeons to operate on brain tumors, lesions, arteriovenous malformations, trigeminal neuralgia and other specific indications of the brain without making a single incision. The Gamma Knife utilizes a single dose of radiation directed through the 201 ports of a collimator helmet to specific targets within the brain. Unlike conventional radiation therapy, the Gamma Knife is so exact it damages and destroys abnormal tissue while leaving the adjacent normal tissue intact.

The Gamma Knife has no moving parts during treatment, which provides enhanced safety, accuracy, reliability and reproducibility. Because of its accuracy, the Gamma Knife allows doctors to treat tumors previously thought inoperable, including tumors near the brainstem, cranial nerves and optic apparatus. Generally, patients are treated and released within 24 hours.

As with any radiation treatment, Gamma Knife results are not immediate. The treatment initially stops the growth of brain tumors and lesions, and their size should decrease over time.