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It’s Possible to Have Brain Surgery — and Come Home That Day

Radiation TherapyImagine heading out of the house in the morning, having brain surgery during the day — and arriving home in time for dinner. That’s possible today with Gamma Knife surgery, a minimally invasive, targeted therapy that delivers radiation into a specific area of the brain.

Neurosurgeon Gene Barnett, MD, says for many years the first thing people would ask him if they were told they’d need brain surgery was, “Do you have to cut me open?”

Now, more and more, the answer is no.

How does Gamma Knife work?
The Gamma Knife is a machine that uses gamma radiation to destroy and disrupt brain tumors in a highly controlled way. Because its radiation beams are so concentrated, exposure to surrounding tissue is minimal.

“Gamma Knife is often equal or superior to regular brain surgery in effectiveness, is virtually painless and has fewer complications,” says Dr. Barnett, who is part of a team of radiation physicians and surgeons in Cleveland Clinic’s Gamma Knife Center where more than 5,000 procedures have been performed since 1997.

“Most patients don’t feel anything during the treatment or recovery,” he says. “Ninety-nine percent come in the morning, get the procedure and go home later that day.”

6 steps to Gamma Knife surgery