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Gamma Knife Surgery

Gamma Knife surgery is a safe, painless way to perform brain, head and neck surgery without making any incisions. Instead, it uses hyper-focused radiation to destroy harmful cells while sparing healthy ones. We’re proud to be among the few health systems in greater Boston to offer this life-changing procedure.

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What is Gamma Knife surgery?

Treating the brain, head and neck area requires the utmost care. With all the nerves, blood vessels, vital organs and delicate structures nearby, performing traditional surgery here carries more risk than in other parts of the body. That's where Gamma Knife surgery comes in.

Despite the name, there’s no knife involved in Gamma Knife surgery, and we don’t make any incisions, either. Instead, we focus 192 beams of gamma radiation onto the area in need of care.

These beams pass harmlessly through nearby healthy tissue, which means less risk of infection and complications, little to no pain and shorter recovery times. In fact, most people can return to the activities they love in just a few days.

Neurosurgeon Julian Wu, MD and Kerry Mahn, RN fitting headpiece used in Gamma Knife procedure on patient at Tufts Medical Center.
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Gamma Knife surgery is a smart treatment option for all kinds of tumors and abnormalities found in and around the brain, head and neck, including:

Arteriovenous malformation (avm)
Cranial nerve tumors
Intraocular melanoma
Metastatic brain tumors
Pituitary gland tumors
Trigeminal neuralgia
Vestibular schwannoma


You may be a good fit for Gamma Knife surgery if:

  • The tumors are in hard-to-reach places, like the base of the skull
  • Your doctor has deemed you too frail for traditional surgery
  • Your tumors are small

We may also consider Gamma Knife surgery if you’ve tried traditional treatments like these and they haven’t had the intended effect:

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