What to Expect

What Can I Expect During My Consultation?

During your consultation visit to Alaska Gamma Knife Center at Anchorage Radiation Therapy, you will see a Radiation Oncologist and Nurse who will obtain a complete history and physical. In addition to a tour of the facility, any questions you may have regarding Gamma Knife treatment will be addressed. This visit is usually completed before your scheduled Gamma Knife treatment. In addition, a consultation with a neurosurgeon will be coordinated a day or two prior as well. This is done to further discuss treatment and head frame placement.

When you arrive on the day of scheduled treatment your neurosurgeon will place the head frame and either an MRI and/or CT imaging will follow. After these scans, you will return to your room while the images are transmitted to the treatment-planning computer where your physicians develop your individualized plan. During its development your family member is welcome to wait with you while you rest, read or watch TV.

Once the treatment plan is fully developed you are ready for Gamma Knife radio surgery. You will be positioned comfortably on the couch of the Gamma Knife and your head frame secured into the automatic positioning system.
Your head is held in place although you can still talk, cough, or sneeze. The couch glides slowly, placing your head into the Gamma Knife unit. The Gamma Knife machine is virtually silent, and you may listen to your favorite music during treatment. Physicians and nurses from outside the room will constantly monitor you. They are in contact through means of video cameras and a two-way intercom.

What Happens After The Treatment?

After your treatment is completed, the frame is removed and your pin sites cleansed and covered. You may experience a mild headache or minor swelling where the head frame was attached, but most patients report no problems. Our nurses will keep you under observation until you meet the criteria for discharge. Discharge instructions and details of a follow up appointment are reviewed with you and your family member. No physical exertion is advised for the remainder of the day, but you may return to your usual level of activity the very next day.