Skip to main content

Stereotactic Gamma Ray Surgery for Malignant Intracranial Tumors


This surgery is used to treat malignant (cancer) tumors inside your head. Beams of radiation kill the tumor cells. Normal tissues near the tumor get little or no radiation. Malignant tumors can grow anywhere inside your head.


The week before surgery:

  • Arrange to have someone drive you home after surgery.
  • Tell your surgeon about all medicines you currently take. He or she will tell you if you need to stop any medicine for surgery, and when to stop. He or she will tell you which medicines to take or not take on the day of surgery.
  • You may need x-rays, a CT scan, or MRI to check the location, shape, and size of your tumor.

The night before surgery:

You may be told not to eat or drink anything after midnight.

The day of surgery:

  • You or a close family member will be asked to sign a legal document called a consent form. It gives healthcare providers permission to do the procedure or surgery. It also explains the problems that may happen, and your choices. Make sure all your questions are answered before you sign this form.
  • Take only the medicines your surgeon told you to take.


What will happen:

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

After surgery:

You will be taken to a room where healthcare providers will 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.


  • You have a fever.
  • You have questions or concerns about your stereotactic gamma ray surgery.

Seek Care Immediately if

  • You had a seizure.
  • You suddenly have problems thinking or remembering.
  • You have sudden shortness of breath or chest pain.
  • Your arms or legs suddenly get weak, or you lose feeling in them.
  • Your headaches, seizures, or other symptoms get worse.


Radiation kills tumor cells but can also damage other normal cells. 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. A new tumor could grow after this treatment.

Care Agreement

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.

© Copyright IBM Corporation 2021 Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or IBM Watson Health

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.

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

IBM Watson Micromedex

Further information

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