Medical Procedures: How “Gamma Knife” Surgery Treats Brain Tumors

It’s called gamma knife surgery, but there’s no cutting involved. It’s been used at Mayo Clinic for 30 years as an alternative to open brain surgery.

The patient’s head is held still during the procedure with a headframe, which also serves as a map for the radiation. Using 3D imaging — typically an MRI — as a guide, the gamma knife is targeted directly at the tumor. And with no hospital stay and minimal side effects, it’s a procedure that is efficient and can be lifesaving.

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