“Brain surgery” once meant using a knife and opening the skull, and “radiation” was a treatment that sacrificed normal brain cells for the sake of killing cancerous ones.
Gamma knife radiosurgery is a noninvasive treatment for brain tumors that allows physicians to preserve most of the patient’s healthy brain tissue. This game-changing procedure has been especially effective in helping to reduce the size of metastatic tumors—tumors that develop in the brain due to cancer that has spread from another part of the body.
“When we first started doing radiosurgery more than a decade ago, patients with metastatic brain tumors were only living six to eight months, on average,” says Veronica Chiang, MD, director of Central Nervous System Radiotherapy and the Gamma Knife Center at Yale Medicine. “Now we’re talking about survival rates in the order of years. To give these patients their best outcome and quality of life, we as physicians must work together in a coordinated fashion to make sure that we use the right treatment at the right time. The use of Gamma Knife has revolutionized our ability to keep patients well neurologically while they maximally benefit from their cancer treatments.”