Health Watch - Surgical Advances: Gamma Knife

Health Watch is a Public Service of the Office of News and Publications  and is intended to provide general information only and should not replace the advice of a medical professional. You should contact your physician if you have questions about any of these topics.


This week on Health Watch, we’re talking about advances in surgical technology and techniques. One new kind of surgery doesn’t require a knife at all — at least, not the kind that makes an incision. The Gamma Knife uses highly focused and targeted radiation to treat vascular malformations, cancer and benign tumors in the brain when conventional surgery can’t be done.

Dr. Bruce Mickey, a neurological surgeon at UT Southwestern Medical Center, says the Gamma Knife is a more accurate way to treat smaller and deeper areas within the brain. The Gamma Knife uses multiple beams of radiation and is precise to one-tenth of a millimeter. That means that damage to healthy tissue near the target can be minimized. The radiation can also be adjusted to avoid other areas in the brain, such as the optic nerve.        

Next: More about how the Gamma Knife works.  


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February 2007

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