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Gamma Knife Surgery For Malignant Glioma


  • Gamma knife surgery for malignant (mah-LIG-nant) glioma (gli-O-mah) is done to remove and treat a tumor (lump) in the brain. The brain is made up of neurons, which transmit and receive nerve signals, and glial cells, which support and nourish neurons. A malignant glioma forms when glial cells become cancerous. The glial cancer cells grow and divide without control or order. These cancer cells often make too much tissue and affect other nearby structures in the brain.
  • A head frame, special helmet and computer are used during surgery. Stereotaxy shows three-dimensional pictures of your brain on a TV monitor. Beams of radiation will be targeted through the many holes in the helmet. These beams pass through your skull and brain until they meet at the tumor. You and your caregiver will decide if this type of surgery for your malignant glioma is right for you. With gamma knife surgery, your malignant glioma may disappear. Your signs and symptoms caused by the glioma will also go away.



  • Keep a current list of your medicines: Include the amounts, and when, how, and why you take them. Take the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency. Throw away old medicine lists. Use vitamins, herbs, or food supplements only as directed.
  • Take your medicine as directed: Call your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not working as expected. Tell him about any medicine allergies, and if you want to quit taking or change your medicine.
  • Antibiotics: This medicine is given to fight or prevent an infection caused by bacteria. Always take your antibiotics exactly as ordered by your healthcare provider. Do not stop taking your medicine unless directed by your healthcare provider. Never save antibiotics or take leftover antibiotics that were given to you for another illness.
  • Pain medicine: You may need medicine to take away or decrease pain.
    • Learn how to take your medicine. Ask what medicine and how much you should take. Be sure you know how, when, and how often to take it.
    • Do not wait until the pain is severe before you take your medicine. Tell caregivers if your pain does not decrease.
    • Pain medicine can make you dizzy or sleepy. Prevent falls by calling someone when you get out of bed or if you need help.

Ask for information about where and when to go for follow-up visits:

For continuing care, treatments, or home services, ask for more information.

Eating well with cancer and cancer treatment:

Good nutrition can:

  • help you feel better during treatment and decrease treatment side effects
  • decrease your risk of infection
  • help you have more energy and feel stronger
  • help you maintain a healthy weight and heal faster
Eat a variety of healthy foods to get the protein, carbohydrates, and other nutrients that your body needs. You may need to change the foods you eat depending on your treatments and side effects. You also may need to eat more calories than usual. Work with a dietitian to plan the best meals and snacks for you. Ask if you should add vitamins to your diet.

Wound care:

Ask your caregiver for information on how to take care of the sites where the pins were placed.


  • You have a fever.
  • You have chills, a cough, or feel weak and achy.
  • You have dizziness, nausea (upset stomach), or vomiting (throwing up).
  • Your skin is itchy, swollen, or has a rash.
  • You have chest pain or trouble breathing that is getting worse over time.
  • You have questions or concerns about your surgery, condition, or care.


  • You have a fever, stiff neck, or an eye pain, especially when looking directly at lights.
  • You have a severe headache that does not go away even after taking pain medicines.
  • You have trouble seeing, talking, or thinking clearly.
  • You passed out or had a seizure (convulsion).
  • Your face is getting numb or you cannot move your arms or legs.
  • You suddenly feel lightheaded and have trouble breathing.
  • You have new and sudden chest pain. You may have more pain when you take deep breaths or cough. You may cough up blood.
  • Your arm or leg feels warm, tender, and painful. It may look swollen and red.
  • Your symptoms come back or become worse.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Learn more about Gamma Knife Surgery For Malignant Glioma (Aftercare Instructions)

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