Gamma Knife Treatment in New Jersey
GGamma Knife surgery is a non-invasive treatment option that can be more effective at treating brain tumors than traditional radiation therapy. Patients who are seeking a neurosurgeon who can perform this procedure can rely on the experienced team at Centers for Neurosurgery, Spine & Orthopedics in New Jersey. These board-certified surgeons and imaging specialists work with each patient to find the best course of treatment.
Treatment for Brain Tumors
There are many types of treatments for brain tumors, including chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation. The doctors at Centers for Neurosurgery, Spine & Orthopedics treat every form of brain tumor, including:
- Gliomas: This type of malignant (cancerous) tumor affects the central nervous system’s glial tissue, also known as glial cells or neuroglia. These cells form in the brain, brain stem, and spinal cord. Symptoms of a glial cell tumor vary depending on the location and type of glioma the patient is diagnosed. Subtypes of gliomas include:
- Astrocytomas: This subtype originates in supporting nerve cells called astrocytes. The nature of an astrocytoma varies greatly from patient to patient. In some cases, the cancer is slow-growing and mild, while in others the tumors can be aggressive.
- Glioblastomas: This subtype is regarded as a highly invasive form of glioma, which can affect the spine or brain. It typically grows quickly and spreads or metastasizes into other areas of the body.
- Meningiomas: This tumor forms in the meninges, which are membranes surrounding the spinal cord and brain. It is usually benign (noncancerous), and is slow-growing. The cause of meningiomas is uncertain, but genetics, female hormones, and history of previous radiation therapy could be risk factors.
- Pituitary tumors: These tumors arise from the abnormal growth of cells in the pituitary gland, located at the base of the brain. The pituitary gland produces vital hormones that support crucial bodily functions, including metabolism, growth, lactation, and blood pressure. Though usually benign, large pituitary tumors may place pressure upon optic nerves and the brain, potentially causing visual disturbances, lactation, thyroid disturbances, and damage to the surrounding tissue.
- Schwannomas: This tumor type grows in the nerve sheath, which is a conductive tissue called myelin. The myelin insulates nerve fibers which aids in the conduction rate of electrical nerve impulses. Schwannomas are the most common type of adult peripheral nerve tumors. They can occur at any age, in any area of the body., and are typically benign.
Determining Eligibility for Gamma Knife
Not all patients can be treated with a Gamma Knife procedure. Centers for Neurosurgery, Spine & Orthopedics uses medical imaging to determine if a patient is a candidate. Medical imaging may be conducted with the following methods to not only confirm the doctor’s diagnosis but also rule out other medical conditions:
- Computed tomography (CT) scan: Utilizing X-ray imaging and other technologies, a CT scan produces a detailed image of the area where a tumor is suspected.
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): This method uses magnetic fields, gradients, and radio waves to produce detailed images of a patient’s organs.
Neurosurgeons will also account for the patient’s physical fitness and physique, other conditions they have, a previous history of surgery, and other medical considerations when determining a patient’s eligibility.
About the Procedure
Gamma Knife surgery uses radiation treatment to shrink and stop the growth of tumors in the brain. Using a machine, the team concentrates many tiny gamma-ray beams to attack a tumor simultaneously. Each ray is too small on its own to harm any tissue it passes through on the way to the treatment area. But when they converge on a target, the gamma rays can effectively shrink or destroy a patient’s brain tumor.
Because there are no incisions required with Gamma Knife technology, there is little risk of infection and no hospital stay required post-treatment.
There are four steps to Gamma Knife treatment:
- Preparing the head frame: To keep the patient in a stable position during the procedure, the medical staff fits the patient with a head frame. A local anesthetic is applied where the frame is tightened. The patient may feel some pressure but should not experience pain while wearing the head frame.
- Imaging: The imaging specialists take images of the patient’s brain using MRI or a CT scan. This provides an accurate picture of the treatment area on the day of the procedure.
- Treatment planning: While the patient rests, the medical team develops a treatment plan to precisely target the tumor.
- Treatment: Treatment is silent and painless, and the patient is awake throughout the whole procedure. With the head frame on, the patient lies on a table that moves in and out of the Gamma Knife system, which looks similar to an MRI machine. The duration of treatment will vary based on the size and location of the patient’s tumor or tumors.
Because the patient may be at the hospital all day, Centers for Neurosurgery, Spine & Orthopedics recommends that patients wear comfortable clothing, pack something to eat, and bring music, a book, or other forms of entertainment while waiting. After treatment, the surgical team monitors the patient until they are released, usually the same day. Occasionally, Gamma Knife patients experience a mild headache from the head frame. Patients can return to work and resume normal activities after treatment.
Learn More about Non-Invasive Treatment for Brain Tumors
For patients looking for a qualified neurosurgeon, Centers for Neurosurgery, Spine & Orthopedics offers an experienced and award-winning team who serves patients across NJ, with locations in Jersey City, Morristown, Paramus, West Orange, and Wayne. These neurosurgeons are affiliated with many of the leading hospitals throughout Northern NJ. To learn more about non-surgical treatment options for brain tumors, schedule an appointment at Centers for Neurosurgery, Spine & Orthopedics today.