Type of Surgery
Last updated: 02/17/2009
Stereotactic radiosurgery has a low reported rate of serious complications with minimal mortality. One German study reported a 4.8% rate of temporary morbidity in patients under treatment for brain tumors, with no permanent morbidity and no mortality....
An American group of researchers found that less than 2% of patients who had eye tumors treated with radiosurgery suffered damage to the optic nerve from the dose of radiation.
Mild side effects following gamma knife radiosurgery are not uncommon, however. One group of British researchers found that 47 out of a group of 65 patients treated with gamma knife surgery had mild or moderate side effects within two weeks of treatment. Of these patients, more than half suffered headaches and a fifth reported unusual tiredness or nausea and vomiting.
Radiosurgery, also known as stereotactic radiotherapy, is a medical procedure which allows non-invasive treatment of benign and malignant conditions, arteriovenous malformations (AVM's), and some functional disorders by means of directed beams of ionizing radiation. It is a relatively recent technique (1951), which is used to ablate, by means of a precise dosage of radiation, intracranial and extracranial tumors and other lesions that could be otherwise inaccessible or inadequate for open surgery. There are many nervous diseases for which conventional surgical treatment is difficult or has many deleterious consequences for the patient, due to arteries, nerves, and other vital structures being damaged.
The total number of neurosurgeries performed in 2006 was estimated at 2,171,195. Of these, 1,345,167 spine-related were performed, equating to nearly 62 percent of the total.
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