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Gamma Knife Frequently Asked Questions

How does the treatment work?

During your treatment up to 192 tiny beams of radiation are focused on a single tumour or other targeted area. The beams’ approach can be shaped to best conform to the target. Treatment with Icon differs from conventional brain radiation therapy as it is programmed very precisely to deliver radiation at a finely focused point, where all of the beams converge to treat diseased tissue while sparing healthy surrounding tissue.  The accuracy of the treatment is unsurpassed.

Does the treatment hurt?

The radiation is invisible and does not hurt. Some treatments use a head frame to hold your head still during the treatment and, when this is the case, there might be mild pain or discomfort from administrating a local anaesthetic or a pressure sensation when the frame is applied. With a relaxing couch, silent machine and music, you my find yourself like many patients, who drift asleep and wake up wondering when their treatment will begin!

What if I move during treatment?

Your head frame or mask is secured during treatment and special accessories support you to help you lie very still. If you move beyond the strict parameters established, the system will instantly block the radiation.

Does the treatment leave me radioactive?

Definitely no – the treatment does not make you radioactive. The radiation delivered during the treatment does not remain in your body.

Am I alone during treatment?

While the radiation is being delivered, your are alone in the treatment room.  However, you can communicate with your radiographers at any time by intercom or hand signal.

Will my head be shaved?

No! As there is no surgical incision, Gamma Knife treatment does not require your head to be shaved. All we ask is that your hair is clean and product free.

Do I have to wear a hospital gown?

No – you can wear your usual clothes (something comfortable and inexpensive) but please don’t wear any item that has metal (studs, chains etc). And remember to remove all jewellery – you can wear a wedding ring only.

Are there any side effects?

Gamma Knife radiosurgery is so precise that minimal damage occurs to the healthy tissues surrounding the treatment target. There may actually be a lower risk of side effects than with other types of radiation therapy. If you have any questions, please ask your consultant, the Gamma Knife Manager or one of the radiographers who will be with you through your treatment.

Consultants specialising in the treatment of gamma knife frequently asked questions

Mr Tom Flannery

Consultant Neurosurgeon

Mr Nick Phillips

Consultant Neurosurgeon

Dr Paul Hatfield

Consultant Clinical Oncologist

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Nova Healthcare is part of Aspen Healthcare Group. Registered Office: Centurion House, 37 Jewry Street, London, EC3N 2ER. T: 020 7977 6080 E: info@aspen-healthcare.co.uk