Pediatric gamma knife radiosurgery might be the solution for a child’s neurological condition. This non-invasive surgery does not include any cutting. It also protects the healthy brain tissue. Instead of using a scalpel, the neurosurgeon uses guided beams of energy. Find out what this surgery treats.
Conditions treated with pediatric gamma knife radiosurgery
Gamma knife radiosurgery is a treatment for brain tumors in children. It is also used for arteriovenous malformations. The procedure usually takes one to two hours to complete. Neurosurgeons can provide it on an inpatient or outpatient basis. Learn more about the conditions treated with gamma knife radiosurgery.
Neurosurgeons use gamma knife radiosurgery to treat brain tumors. This non-invasive surgery is used for benign and malignant tumors. Neurosurgeons often use this surgery to treat metastatic and secondary tumors. Especially, metastatic tumors that are in areas that cannot be accessed with traditional surgery. For example, gamma knife radiosurgery is an option for metastatic tumors in the brain stem.
Benign tumors are not cancerous. These tumors rarely invade the tissue surrounding the tumor. However, benign tumors can cause problems with vision, balance and hearing. These tumors can cause facial paralysis, nausea and vomiting and mental problems. Benign tumors usually do not come back after being removed via pediatric gamma knife radiosurgery.
Tumors that contain cancer cells are referred to as malignant. Unlike benign tumors, these tumors typically invade the tissue surrounding the tumor. Malignant brain tumors can cause a variety of symptoms. These include behavioral changes, persistent nausea, severe headaches and seizures. People also experience weakness and issues with speech and vision. These tumors can reoccur after pediatric gamma knife radiosurgery.
Sometimes, tumors begin in one part of the body and spread to other areas, including the brain. These tumors are called metastatic. Some types of cancer are the most likely to enter the lymph nodes and bloodstream and spread to the brain. These include breast cancer, lung cancer, nasopharyngeal cancer, colon cancer and melanoma. These brain tumors can reoccur after treatment.
The vascular system is composed of capillaries, veins and arteries. Arteries are responsible for distributing blood from the heart to vital organs. The veins bring blood back to the heart. Capillaries connect the veins and arteries. When an arteriovenous malformation is present, the arteries and veins tangle together, and the capillaries are not present. Without the help of capillaries, the blood flows too quickly and the blood pressure in the veins goes up.
Children with arteriovenous malformations experience pain and swelling and bleeding on the skin. Severe bleeding can also take place. If the issue is in the head, the child might experience headaches or confusion. The child can go into heart failure if this condition is not treated.
Seeking treatment for pediatric conditions
Some children have a brain tumor or an arteriovenous malformation. Pediatric gamma knife radiosurgery might be the right choice for them. It can even treat metastatic cancer that cannot be reached with traditional surgery. Talk to your neurosurgeon to determine if your child is a good candidate for this procedure. If your child is a good candidate, your neurosurgeon can schedule the procedure.
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