Why Gamma knife radiosurgery is NOT an surgery ?

A surgery is defined as a treatment of injuries or disorders of the body by incision or manipulation, especially with instruments. whereas a Radiosurgery is a high dose of radiation treatment with no Incisions or cuts made on the body.

Therefore, Gamma Knife radiosurgery is not considered as a surgery. Infact, it is a stereotactic radiotherapy which makes use of a three-dimensional coordinate system to locate small targets inside the body and to perform radiosurgery on them. It is primarily used to treat functional abnormalities and small tumours of the brain.

Like in a conventional brain surgery, patients of GammaKnife radio surgery do not need to go through open skull procedures and usually do not even require general anesthesia. This treatment is favourable when surgical interventions pose a very high risk, when patients are of advanced age, in poor medical condition or where the lesions are situated in inaccessible or functionally critical area within the brain. The treatment also does away with lengthy post-surgical hospital stays, medications and months of rehabilitation with virtually no indications of post-surgical disability.

In this radiosurgery, the Gamma Knife, which has advanced diagnostic imaging and three-dimensional treatment planning software, delivers 192 precisely focused beams of gamma radiation to small targets inside the brain. Radiation is only delivered at a single, finely focused point where all 192 beams converge to treat the diseased tissue, while nearby healthy tissue is spared.

The whole process is done in a day where a lightweight frame is attached on the patient’s head (very minimal discomfort/pressure is felt where pins are inserted) and local anaesthesia is given post which the patient is placed on the Gamma Knife couch. The patient is awake and conscious throughout the GammaKnife treatment and the patient could engage with the treatment team too. This may take anything between 15 minutes or more than one hour depending on the treatment. Post the treatment, the patient can go back home the same day resume his/her activities within few days.

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