Gamma rays are often used in neurosurgical procedures to treat various diseases of the brain, such as brain tumors. This is because the use of gamma rays is considered safer, causes minimal pain, and has a low risk of complications.
Gamma ray radiation, also known as gamma knifegamma knife) is a medical therapy that does not involve incisions in the scalp to open the skull bones, but instead emits hundreds of gamma rays that are directed to the affected area of the brain.
Benefits of Gamma Rays in Brain Neurosurgery
The following are some types of disorders of the brain that can be treated with surgery that uses gamma rays:
1. Brain tumor
Gamma ray radiation is able to damage the genetic material or DNA of tumor cells, so as to eradicate tumor cells and make the tumor shrink slowly.
Therefore, gamma ray radiation is often used to treat brain tumors, both benign and malignant brain tumors or brain cancer. Gamma ray surgery can also be done to treat brain tumors that arise due to spread from other organs (metastasis).
2. Arteriovenous malformation (AVM)
AVM or arteriovenous malformation is a condition when there is a blood vessel disorder in the brain that causes blood flow to the brain to be disrupted.
Over time, the blood vessels with an AVM will become more fragile and break easily. When a blood vessel with this disorder bursts, the brain will bleed.
To treat abnormalities in the blood vessels in the brain due to AVM, gamma ray surgery can be one of the treatment options that can be done.
3. Trigeminal neuralgia
Trigeminal neuralgia is a disorder of one or both of the trigeminal nerves, the nerves that are responsible for receiving and conveying physical stimuli in the forehead, cheeks, and lower jaw. This nerve disorder causes pain or stinging in the face that feels like an electric shock.
4. Acoustic neuroma
Acoustic neuroma (vestibular schwannoma) is a benign tumor on the nerves in the ear that are responsible for maintaining body balance and hearing function.
Acoustic neuromas can cause hearing loss, dizziness, loss of balance, and ringing in the ears (tinnitus).
In addition, gamma ray radiation surgery can also be used to treat tumors of the pituitary gland (pituitary) located at the base of the brain. This gland is a very important gland because it functions to regulate various body functions, such as stress response, metabolism, and sexual function.
Advantages of Gamma Rays for Neurosurgery
The most common advantage of surgery with gamma radiation is that no incision is required, unlike most other neurosurgical techniques. Gamma ray surgical procedures only utilize gamma ray radiation. Gamma-ray surgery also does not require general anesthesia or general anesthesia.
In addition, the use of gamma rays for neurosurgery also has other advantages, such as:
Gamma ray surgery only works on the affected area, so the area around it is not exposed to much radiation.
To guide the gamma ray surgical procedure and minimize the risk of side effects that can occur, doctors usually also use imaging methods, such as CT scans or MRIs.
Faster recovery process
Because it is done without incisions, this method does not cause severe pain, so the recovery process can be faster. The short duration of hospitalization also allows you to be able to return to activities more quickly.
High success rate
The success of gamma ray radiation in treating brain tumors is fairly high. This method has also been shown to be successful in increasing the life expectancy of patients with certain diseases treated with gamma ray surgery.
Gamma Rays Risks for Neurosurgery
Although relatively safe, the use of gamma rays for neurosurgery can also cause the following side effects or complications:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Blurred vision
- Loss of balance or dizziness
- Weakness in limbs
- Hair loss
- Swelling in the brain
However, the risk of these side effects varies from person to person. These side effects can also appear a short time after the gamma ray surgery procedure is performed, but can also occur within a few weeks or months.
Therefore, after undergoing gamma ray surgery, you need to regularly check yourself back to the doctor at the hospital to make sure that your condition is good.
If you feel some side effects after undergoing gamma ray surgery, immediately consult a neurosurgeon to get the right treatment.