Gamma Knife (surgery)

Gamma Knife Surgery

Gamma Knife

Gamma Knife surgery is a procedure where a beam of radiation is used to burn away targeted brain tissue. The procedure is non-invasive in the sense that the skull is not cut/opened. The surgery generally targets lesions or scar tissue that are focal points for seizures.

Not everyone is a candidate for gamma knife surgery. Many tests are required to identify the focal points from which seizures are emanating. If you are a candidate for this operation, the results (for seizure control) are generally good, but the potential adverse events appear to be fairly common.

Because this is still a relatively new treatment, there is some question as to the longer term consequences for this treatment - both for efficacy (are results permanent?) and adverse events.


According to
The success rate ... is similar to that reported following standard temporal lobectomy.

Potential Adverse Events

According to, potential adverse events include:
  • transient increase in seizures
  • symptoms of radiation-induced tissue changes:
    • headache
    • nausea
    • vomiting
    • depression
    • dizziness
  • visual field deficits


This procedure is cost prohibitive without insurance. It scores an 8 for a general approximation of out of pocket expenses (for what insurance does not cover).


This is a one time procedure (hopefully!).


It can take up to a year or two to realize the full benefit of seizure reductions from Gamma knife surgery.

This page last modified September 9, 2019.

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