Occurrence of brain tumors in people have tripled in the last two decades. Brain tumors can be injurious & they can completely overturn a person’s normal life. Growth of abnormal cells in brain region adversely affects patients. Cancerous brain tumors have various symptoms that are common to less dreadful diseases & can be caused by a combination of carcinogens. Many surgeries are available for treatment of lesions in brain, but they are generally risky as well as painful. Advanced treatment known as gamma knife radiosurgery is becoming quite popular these days among world-wide patients, as it has a lower risk of complications & high success rates. According to top-health magazines, the number of patients undergoing gamma knife radiosurgery for brain tumors has increased by 40 percent in 2015 & will continue to grow in up-coming years.
What is Gamma Knife Surgery?
Gamma Knife Radiosurgery is also known as Stereotactic Radiosurgery. This is a precise therapeutic radiology treatment & which does not anyway involve actual surgery. Basically, it only uses high-focused beams of gamma rays to treat small to medium sized lesions normally located within the brain. With several beams joining to focus on the lesion under treatment, Gamma Knife Radiosurgery translates into an intense dose of radiation without involving any surgical incision. Gamma Knife radiosurgery is a safer solution to standard brain surgery (neurosurgery) which needs incisions in the skull & cuts through membranes near to the brain tissue. This kind of radiation treatment is usually performed under the following circumstances.
- When an abnormality or tumor in the brain of patients is too hard to reach with standard brain surgery.
- When patients are not physically fit or healthy enough to undergo standard surgery.
- When patients prefer a less invasive treatment.
Gamma knife radiosurgery may have a lower risk of side-effects as compared to various other kinds of radiation therapy.
Brain tumors can be categorized into two types; brain tumors which begin in the brain & tumors which begin elsewhere in the body & spread to the brain.
- Primary Brain Tumors – These originate in the brain itself or in tissues surrounding it, such as in brain-covering membranes, pituitary gland or cranial nerves.
- Metastatic Brain Tumors – Secondary brain tumors are tumors that result from cancer that starts elsewhere in patient’s body & then spreads to the brain.
Common signs and symptoms of brain tumors vary greatly & depend upon the size of tumor, its location & rate of growth. Symptoms caused by brain tumors may include the following.
- Severe Headaches – When patients observe change in the pattern of headaches. Headaches which are more frequent & severe.
- Nausea – When patients suffer from unexplained nausea or vomiting conditions.
- Vision Problem – Patients may get blurred vision trouble, loss of peripheral vision or double vision.
- Speech Difficulties – Patients may have trouble while speaking.
- Confusion – When patients notice a confused state of mind in everyday matters.
- Behavior or Personality Changes – When patients experience personality or behavioral changes.
- Hearing Problems – Patients may have trouble with hearing.
Patients should consult an oncologist if they observe any of the above persistent signs & symptoms.
Most commonly, gamma knife radiosurgery is used to treat conditions which are stated below.
- Brain Tumor – Gamma knife radiosurgery is useful in the management of small noncancerous lesions as well as malignant brain tumors. This treatment destroys DNA in tumor’s cells & the tumor may eventually shrink because of this.
- Arteriovenous Malformation (AVM) – These are abnormal tangles of veins & arteries inside patient’s brain. AVMs may disturb the regular flow of blood in patient’s brain leading to conditions of bleeding. Gamma knife radiosurgery destroys the AVM & helps blood vessels to close off gradually.
- Trigeminal Neuralgia – It is a disorder of trigeminal nerves in patient’s brain which carry sensory information between the brain & portions of cheek, forehead & lower jaw. After gamma knife surgery, patients will get pain relief within a few months.
- Acoustic Neuroma – This is a non-cancerous tumor that grows along the nerve of balance & hearing leading from patient’s inner ear to the brain. Radiosurgery is helpful in stopping growth of an acoustic neuroma.
- Pituitary Tumor –Tumors of the pituitary gland can cause several problems. Pituitary gland regulates hormones in patient’s body that control various functions, such as metabolism, stress response & sexual function. Gamma knife radiosurgery can be used to shrink the size of tumor & lessen the disturbance of pituitary hormone regulation.
Brain tumors can be diagnosed with a number of scanning methods. The type of scan used for diagnosis depends upon the condition of patients being treated.
- Computerized Tomography (CT) scan – CT scan method involves a series of x-rays to create a more detailed image of brain.
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) – In an MRI scan, a magnetic field is created to extract precise images of internal structures of brain.
- Cerebral Angiogram – In a cerebral angiogram test, surgeons insert a tiny tube in blood vessel of patients in the groin & thread it to their brain with the help x-ray imaging. Dye is inserted in patients through blood vessels to make it visible on x-rays.
Clear & honest discussion of patients with oncologists is the key to a successful treatment of brain disorders. Patients should ask their concerns regarding gamma knife radiosurgery to surgeons during initial consultation.
- Medications – Patients should openly tell the surgeons regarding medications they are currently taking.
- Allergies – Patients should inform surgeons if they are allergic to iodine or shellfish as they both are chemically related to dyes that surgeons may use during the procedure.
- Medical Devices – Patients should inform surgeons regarding them having any medical devices implantation if any. When patients have implanted devices, such as pacemaker, stents or artificial heart valves, they should tell them first.
List of important questions which patients may ask oncologists prior to undergoing gamma knife radiosurgery are given below.
- What is gamma knife radiosurgery?
- Am I eligible for undergoing this procedure?
- What does gamma knife radiosurgery involve?
- What are the benefits of gamma knife radiosurgery?
- How experienced are you in performing gamma knife radiosurgery?
- What are the risks & side-effects associated with this procedure?
- Can you elaborate the short-term & long-term results of gamma knife radiosurgery?
- Will I experience severe pain after this procedure?
- Will I be able to perform my routine tasks after this radiosurgery?
- How much time will it take to completely recover following this procedure?
- What can I do to maintain a healthy lifestyle after my gamma knife radiosurgery?
Only after clearing all doubts, patients should proceed with the procedure.
Patients will have to lie on bed that slides into a gamma knife machine & the head frame will be connected securely to a helmet inside the gamma knife machine. Patients will have an IV tube (intravenous tube) that provides essential fluids to the patient’s bloodstream in order to keep them hydrated during radiosurgery. Gamma knife procedure may take about an hour to three hours to complete, depending upon the shape & size of the target. During the procedure, patients will experience the following.
- They will be able to talk with the respective oncologists via a microphone.
- Patients will not feel any radiation.
- Patients will not hear any noise from the gamma knife machine.
Gamma Knife surgery mostly will take most of a day. Patients may be clearly advised to have a friend or a family member who can stay with them during the day & also who can take them home after the procedure. However, in certain cases, an overnight stay may also be required.
Main goal of gamma knife radiosurgery is to destroy cell’s ability to multiply by radiating the cells in the nerve, tumors or specific areas of brain. Patients should anticipate lessening of severe symptoms gradually over time, rather than promptly after the procedure. After completion of the procedure, patients will be able to drink, eat & resume all normal activities that patients could do prior to their treatment. Some patients may feel tired for a few days after gamma knife radiosurgery, but with proper rest they could soon regain their energy. Follow-up sessions with the surgeon are equally important as maintaining a healthy lifestyle. This is to ensure speedy recovery of patients post-surgery.
Gamma Knife radiosurgery does not require surgical incisions, so it is a less risky intervention than conventional procedures. In conventional surgeries, there are various possible complications associated with bleeding, anesthesia & infection. Several initial complications from gamma knife radiosurgery are normally temporary. They may include the following.
- Fatigue – Extreme tiredness & fatigue may be observed for a couple of weeks after Gamma Knife surgery.
- Swelling – Swelling near the treatment site can result in a variety of symptoms. Oncologists may prescribe anti-inflammatory medicines or corticosteroid medications to prevent such issues or to treat any symptoms if they appear post-treatment.
- Hair & Scalp Problems – Patient’s scalp may be irritated, red or sensitive at treatment sites. Rarely, some patients temporarily lose a little amount of hair if the portion being treated came under the scalp.
Patients may experience late complications, such as other neurological or brain problems, several months after Gamma Knife radiosurgery.
Outcomes of Gamma Knife radiosurgery appear gradually, depending upon the type of health condition which is being treated.
- Benign Tumors – Gamma Knife radiosurgery restricts tumor cells to reproduce & multiply. Tumor may completely shrink over a period of 15 months to 2 years, but the main aim of Gamma Knife radiosurgery is to prevent any further tumor development.
- Malignant Tumors – Cancerous or malignant tumors may contract more rapidly, generally within a few months.
- Arteriovenous Malformations – Gamma knife radiosurgery causes the unusual blood vessels of brain to thicken & close-off. This procedure may take upto two years or even more.
- Trigeminal Neuralgia – This procedure produces a lesion that blocks propagation of pain signals along the trigeminal nerve. Complete relief from pain may take a few months of time.
Gamma Knife radiosurgery patients must follow instructions given by surgeons in order to recover faster & live a normal life after gamma knife procedure for cancer.
Gamma Knife radiosurgery is performed exclusively for treatment of brain disorders. It has many advantages as described below.
- Lesions being treated with gamma knife radiosurgery receive radiation dose with lesser risk to nearby structures & tissues.
- Cost of Gamma Knife radiosurgery is often lesser than conventional neurosurgery.
- Patients generally experience lesser pain & discomfort.
- Absence of an incision minimizes risk of infection & hemorrhage.
- Hospitalization period is short, typically an overnight stay.
- Gamma Knife radiosurgery allows treatment of in-operable lesions.
- This procedure offers solutions to patients who were previously considered untreatable or at very high risk.
Medical Tourism in India for Gamma Knife Radiosurgery
India is a specialist medical tourism destination for GammaKnife radiosurgery procedures. GammaKnife Stereotactic Radiosurgery costs in India are affordable & just a fraction of what a patient would normally pay in western developed countries. Offering high-tech medical provisions to a large variety of healthcare issues, it is no wonder that India is one of the most favored global health care countries today.
Affordable GammaKnife Radiosurgery with Travcure Medical Tourism
Travcure Medical Tourism provides outstanding GammaKnife Radiosurgery Treatments in the best hospitals of India. Travcure 24X7 assistance alongside call & electronic mail services is one of the best you can rely upon. Healthcare experts at Travcure are associated with the best GammaKnife treatment surgeons & technicians who are top specialists in the country. They ensure that all patients receive transparent, high-quality, seamless, affordable & hassle-free extensive range of GammaKnife treatments to overcome all kinds of medical problems relating with the brain.
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