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Stereotactic Gamma Ray Surgery for Malignant Intracranial Tumors


Stereotactic gamma ray surgery is used to treat tumors inside your head. Beams of radiation kill the tumor cells. Normal tissues near the tumor get little or no radiation. Malignant intracranial tumors are cancer cells that can grow anywhere inside your head. Cancer cells can spread to other parts of your body and grow into new tumors. Cancer cells from other parts of your body can also spread to your head and grow into a tumor.


Before your treatment:

  • Informed consent is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.
  • Vital signs: Healthcare providers will check your blood pressure, heart rate, breathing rate, and temperature. They will also ask about your pain. Vital signs give information about your current health.

During your treatment:

  • You are placed on a table that can be moved to different positions. Shields that block radiation from reaching other parts of your body will be put over you. A head frame will be used to hold your head very still during the treatment. You may get medicine to numb the area where the frame will be placed. The head frame will be secured with pins.
  • The table that you are lying on is moved inside the treatment hood. MRI or CT scans are used to help point the beams directly at your tumor. Your healthcare provider sets the shape of the beams and the amount of radiation your tumor will get. Lie still and relax during the treatment. The beams pass through your skull and brain and reach your tumor. After the treatment, the table is moved out of the hood. The head frame and helmet are removed.

After your treatment:

You may be taken to a room where healthcare providers can watch you closely for problems. Do not try to get out of bed until your healthcare provider says it is okay. Later, you will be taken to your hospital room, or you may be able to go home.


  • Radiation kills tumor cells but can also damage other normal cells in your head. Your brain, eyes, blood vessels, or nerves may get damaged during gamma ray treatments. You may have headaches, nausea, vomiting, seizures, or problems with your vision or memory. You may have alopecia, a condition that causes your hair to thin and fall out. Areas that make hormones may get damaged, and you may need medicines to replace these hormones. There is also a chance that your tumor may not completely shrink or that it may come back. In some cases, a new tumor may grow after this treatment.
  • Without treatment, malignant intracranial tumors may grow bigger and damage other tissues around them. The blood or nerve supply to nearby structures may be cut off. If this happens, you may have problems seeing, moving, speaking, breathing, or thinking clearly. This may lead to other serious medical problems, such as blindness, seizures, or stroke. Cancer cells can spread and grow into new tumors in other parts of your body.


You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Further information

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

Learn more about Stereotactic Gamma Ray Surgery for Malignant Intracranial Tumors (Inpatient Care)

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