Gamma Knife or radiosurgery is a type of radiation surgery used to treat brain tumors, vascular malformations, and other abnormalities in the brain. Gamma Knife is not surgery in the traditional sense because there is no incision. It is therefore often a safer alternative than standard brain surgery (neurosurgery).
The Gamma Knife focuses about 200 tiny beams of radiation on a tumor or target with submillimeter precision. This process damages the genetic material (DNA) in the tumor cells and as a result the cells lose their ability to reproduce and die, and the tumor can gradually shrink.
This type of radiation treatment is usually performed when: a tumor or other abnormality in the brain is too difficult to reach with standard neurosurgery; a person is not healthy enough to undergo standard surgery; a person prefers a less invasive treatment.
Gamma Knife is most commonly used to treat: brain tumor, arteriovenous malformation (AVM), trigeminal neuralgia, acoustic neuroma, pituitary tumors. "Gamma Knife" radiosurgery is usually done through a therapy that is completed within a single session.