You are going to undergo Gamma Knife treatment...

The treatment comprises 3 days in hospital.

1st day

You will be admitted to the hospital in a room of the Neurosurgery department on the 4th floor.  You will undergo a number of routine medical examinations (blood tests, if necessary, skull X-ray, electrocardiogram, etc.).  You will meet the medical team of the Gamma Knife Centre.  You will be prepared by the nursing team for the radiosurgical procedure to be performed the next day, and will spend your first night in the hospital.

2nd day

The day is organised in 4 stages.

  1. In the early morning (around 7:30), you will be brought to magnetic resonance imaging where the stereotaxic frame will be installed under local anaesthesia.  This stage lasts about 10 minutes.  The anaesthetist will relax you with medication or a mild sedative.
  2. A number of brain imaging tests will then be carried out to obtain the data needed to plan the treatment.  At the end of these tests (usually around 10:00 AM), you will be taken back to your room where you can have your breakfast.
  3. The images are imported in the computer used to plan the treatment and the doctor calculates the parameters of the treatment.  He obtains an optimal ray distribution that covers the target to be treated, and spares the adjacent healthy structures.  This stage of the intervention takes between 1 and 4 hours depending on the complexity of the planning required.  During this time, you stay in your room: you can eat, read, watch television, telephone, receive visitors, etc.
  4. Once the planning of the treatment has been completed, the machine is programmed with the data obtained, and different planning as well as treatment precision verification systems are deployed by the physicist of the Centre.  During this time, the stretcher-bearer will come to your room to take you to the Gamma Knife Centre. The nurses take over in the treatment room, and the doctor fixes the stereotaxic frame to the machine.  In this way, during the treatment, your head is fixed by this frame, but the rest of your body remains mobile.  Once everything has been checked and validated, the treatment starts, and can last from 20 minutes to 4 hours, depending on the planning.  Doctors and nurses keep watch over you by camera throughout this time and stay in contact with you by interphone. When the treatment is finished, the doctor removes the stereotaxic frame and you are taken back to your room.  The treatment may be interrupted at all times.  You will not feel any particular sensation during the treatment; you can listen to the music of your choice.

All 4 stages of the intervention usually take between 4 and 8 hours.

3rd day

You will meet the attending team of the Centre and will receive the necessary indications about going home and monitoring after the treatment.

You can leave the hospital after 10:00 the next morning, taking a number of documents, some for your attending physician and your requesting physician.
Some tips for your stay in hospital

Here are some tips from the nurses of the Gamma Knife Centre to make your stay in hospital more comfortable:

  • Do not hesitate to bring your favourite music CD!  You can listen to music during the treatment.
  • Don’t forget to bring a hair dryer or an additional towel, because you will have your hair washed with disinfecting shampoo.
  • Remember that you will spend 2 nights in hospital.  So bring the necessary toiletry articles and change of clothes.
  • Bring pyjamas or comfortable underclothing without metal (buttons, zip, etc.).

Medical monitoring

The effect of the radiosurgical treatment is never immediate, and is in general extended over a few years.  Regular clinical and radiological check-ups will therefore be necessary.  In general, these check-ups are performed between 6 weeks and 1 year after the treatment, depending on the pathology treated, either by the Gamma Knife Centre or by the requesting specialist physician. 

Treatment by Gamma Knife does not interfere with the patient’s daily activity nor is his capacity for work affected in any way.  The patient remains under the supervision of the attending physician after the Gamma Knife treatment;  doctors at the Centre can be contacted in case of problems.

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