NHS - Gamma Knife

Treatment Day

Your Gamma Knife Radiosurgery Treatment Day

A metal frame which is secured to the head, is crucial to the treatment and forms the base for accurately identifying the position of the abnormal tissue and for positioning you accurately for the gamma knife radiosurgery treatment.

After a light breakfast on the day of treatment you will be transferred to a clinical room, shown the frame and prepared for its application. The process of positioning the frame takes approximately 10 minutes. Some discomfort may be experienced as local anaesthetic is applied at the points of contact with the head.

Measurements are made over the surface of the scalp so that the size, shape and exact location of the head are known with reference to the frame.

You will then have an MRI and/or CT scan (and an angiogram if you have an AVM)  which provides up-to-date images of the abnormalities to be treated. These images have special markers on, which enable the precise position of the abnormality to be determined.

When your MRI scan is complete you will be taken to the Gamma Knife Suite where refreshments and a well deserved break is taken while you wait for your individualised treatment plan to be constructed. This can take some time as a Neuroradiologist, physics staff and the Consultant are all involved so your wait can seem quite long (the complexity of the condition being treated will affect this) The radiographers looking after you will advise how long your wait might be.


Preparing for an MRI scan

This shows how you will be positioned on the bed of  the MRI scanner, once you are reasonably comfortable the scan takes approx 20mins.  


This shows a plan that has just had the area for treatment marked up. the next image above is a final treatment plan. A number of radiation fields of different sizes are used to formulate the Gamma Knife treatment plan which when ready is sent to the gamma knife control in preparation for treatment delivery.

When your plan has been approved and checked you will be taken into the treatment room to start your treatment.  The frame is used to precisely position your head to the planned positions within the treatment machine.  The radiographers carefully explain everything, make you as comfortable as possible and only when you are happy, does the treatment commence.

The patient couch then moves into the central body of the unit in order to deliver the first field of the Gamma Knife radiation treatment. For your comfort and safety the radiographers will watch over the treatment process on camera. During this time you will be able to relax and listen to music whilst still being able to talk to the radiographer via the intercom as and when you wish. The treatment couch will move to accurately position you for each treatment field and you may sense thiese gentle movements of the couch.

The time taken to deliver the treatment can vary from around 30 minutes up-to several hours depending upon the size/shape of the abnormality and the intricate nature of the individual Gamma Knife treatment plan.

When your planned treatment is complete the frame is removed and you will get a well deserved rest on the ward.

Imaging / MRI

Treatment Plan