A glioblastoma can be extraordinarily frightening as you contemplate the idea of a fast-growing tumor in your brain. And the first, and most important, step is to remove the tumor to prevent it from spreading, which only adds to your trepidation as you face the possibility of brain surgery. There is a way, however, that we can treat the tumor through radiosurgery in a procedure using a Gamma Knife, which contrary to its name, isn’t a knife at all.
At our practice, Dr. Christopher Duma is a leading neurosurgeon and brain tumor specialist who offers the latest science-based and cutting-edge technologies to help his patients in Newport Beach, California, overcome very serious neurological issues. And when it comes to glioblastomas, Dr. Duma has had great success using the Gamma Knife technique.
Here’s a look at how this leading-edge radiosurgery can address glioblastomas.
As we mentioned, a Gamma Knife isn’t a knife at all, but a noninvasive stereotactic radiosurgery instrument designed to remove lesions in the brain. The technique isn’t new — the first Gamma Knife was built in 1967. Thanks to its success, new generations of the Gamma Knife were engineered throughout the 1970s and 1980s, leading to the technology we use today.
The idea behind the Gamma Knife is to avoid risky and invasive open brain surgeries, which we accomplish by using individual beams (up to 192) of gamma radiation that come together to target a precise spot with a high dose of radiation. This targeted and intense dose of radiation is designed to control your brain lesion in a way that causes the lesion to disappear, shrink, or stop growing.
Using this technique, our goal is to avoid brain surgery, which has a significant risk for collateral damage to surrounding tissue. The beams that the Gamma Knife emit have an accuracy of less than one-tenth of a millimeter, which means that we treat only your diseased tissue, leaving healthy tissue alone.
One of the most amazing benefits of the Gamma Knife procedure is that we’re able to perform the procedure and send you home on the same day in most cases.
When you come in, Dr. Duma and our team first give you a light sedative, and then we secure a lightweight frame to your head. With the frame in place, we use advanced imaging (MRI or CT scan) to precisely identify the location, geometry, and size of your glioblastoma to come up with the best approach.
Once we have a plan, which we devise using advanced software technology, we input the information and the Gamma Knife unit delivers the treatment. The time it takes for your radiosurgery depends upon the size and location of your glioblastoma, but it can last anywhere from 20 minutes to two hours. The good news is that you don’t feel or hear a thing during this time.
Once we’ve completed our Gamma Knife radiosurgery, you’re free to go home, unless we determine that we’d like to keep you overnight for observation.
The results of your Gamma Knife procedure take some time to fall into place, but we monitor you every step of the way. Our primary goal is to stop the growth and spread of your glioblastoma, and even to get it to shrink. But these results may take months, and even a year or more, as each human body works at its own pace.
If you’d like to explore how our innovative and noninvasive Gamma Knife radiosurgery can help with your glioblastoma, please don’t hesitate to call our office at 949-209-9380.