MD Anderson now offers gamma knife radiosurgery to treat difficult tumors in the head and neck area. Gamma Knife provides accurate tumor targeting with a single dose of radiation, freeing patients from multiple radiation treatments and allowing them to return to a normal routine within a few days of treatment.
The resulting treatment plan allows radiosurgeons to focus high-dose radiation along the exact dimensions of the tumor, while sparing delicate structures surrounding the treatment area.
The size of the radiation beams can be adjusted to as small as four millimeters in diameter to reach small tumors. The automation allows both radiation oncologists and neurosurgeons to treat multiple lesions in a single procedure.
The Gamma Knife system is proving to be ideal for areas that cannot be reached by surgery. Patients who cannot tolerate surgery or who have had previous radiation therapy to the brain may also be candidates for Gamma Knife. With further study, Gamma Knife may be offered as frontline therapy for certain patients with cancers to the brain, head and neck.
Gamma knife surgery is best for:
- Cancer that has metastasized (spread) to the brain, head or neck area
- Tumors in the base of the skull
- Malignant gliomas
- Acoustic neuromas
- Pituitary tumors