The Procedure

Gamma Knife treatment consists of the following steps: 


A stereotactic frame will be placed on the patient’s head and remain there throughout treatment. The frame is needed as a reference point during treatment planning, and it is used to hold the head in the exact position required for precise treatment.  This frame provides the Gamma Knife with an unmatched level of accuracy to perform the treatment procedure. 


MRI, CT scans or angiography (a way to visualize the blood vessels) will be used to obtain images that clearly define where the tumor, AVM or treatment site is located. A typical Gamma Knife treatment plan takes an hour or two to complete. 


Once the images are transferred to the Gamma Knife's computer planning system, the team will examine them and accurately define the target. The detailed treatment plan they create will determine how long treatment will take. Planning a typical Gamma Knife treatment usually takes approximately one hour.


Once the treatment plan has been carefully checked by the team for precision and safety and has been explained to the patient, treatment will begin. The patient will enter the Gamma Knife room and recline on the couch portion of the unit. The team will position the patient’s head in the machine. The team conducts treatment in an adjacent room, maintaining contact with the patient through video and intercom. Patients may choose to listen to the radio or music of their choice. When the treatment is over, the patient is taken out of the machine and the head frame is removed.  Most patients will be observed for a period of time and released.  However, some patient may be required to stay overnight in the hospital.  Most individuals return to normal pre-treatment activities within a day or two.


A physician will monitor the patient’s treatment results by taking periodic MRI, CT scans or angiography. The Gamma Knife Center staff will stay in contact with  the patient’s physician in order to monitor the treatment progress. We are available 24 hours a day to provide further consultation on a patient case.

Outstanding Advantages

The Gamma Knife is designed solely to treat brain tumors and neurological disorders through stereotactic radiosurgery. This enables the Robert R. Smith M.D. Gamma Knife Center to offer patients the following benefits:

Gamma Knife treatment offers these advantages:

  • A single, one day non-invasive treatment with no incisions
  • No general anesthesia (except in younger children or patients with increased anxiety)
  • Typically an outpatient procedure with fewer complications than traditional surgery
  • Patients return to pretreatment activities within days, requiring little or no rehabilitative services
  • Treatment that is reimbursed or covered by most insurance payors, including Medicare
  • Only stereotactic radiosurgery device that has specific FDA approval to treat brain metastases
  • Can treat single and multiple brain metastases from a variety of primary cancers such as breast, lung, colon, kidney, bladder, prostate and melanoma
  • Over 2,500 peer-review clinical articles support its use for:
    • Malignant and benign brain tumors
      Arteriovenous malformations (AVMs)
      Trigeminal neuralgia

For more detailed information on the Robert R. Smith, M.D. Gamma Knife Center including conditions we treat, frequently asked questions, the treatment results, etc., please visit our comprehensive website: