UCHealth Gamma Knife Center - Anschutz Medical Campus

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Your team
Tyler Robin, MD, PhD
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Radiation Oncology

Sarah Milgrom, MD
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Radiation Oncology

Timothy Waxweiler, MD
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Radiation Oncology

Sameer Nath, MD
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Radiation Oncology

Joshua Seinfeld, MD
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Neurological Surgery

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(Formerly known as Rocky Mountain Gamma Knife Center)

To schedule a consultation or appointment, please call the office of one of the physicians listed on this page. For general questions about the Gamma Knife procedure, please call our number above.

No incision. High precision.

The UCHealth Gamma Knife Center offers Gamma Knife® radiosurgery, a non-invasive radiation therapy treatment designed specifically for the brain.

Male patient listening to doctorWhen you’re facing brain surgery, you want a treatment option with low risk and a high rate of success. Gamma Knife surgery is just such an option, providing an alternative to surgery and other less-effective radiation therapies. After thousands of studies, this noninvasive procedure is considered the gold standard treatment for trigeminal neuralgia, metastatic and benign brain tumors, acoustic neuroma, and arteriovenous malformations.

Gamma Knife treatment has proven to be very effective, stopping benign tumor growth in 93 percent of cases and curing up to 97 percent of trigeminal neuralgia cases.

Gamma Knife is used to treat:

At UCHealth Gamma Knife Center, our team of specialists will carefully review your medical history and discuss treatment options with you to determine whether you are a good candidate for a Gamma Knife procedure.

Call us at the number above to find out if you might be a candidate for Gamma Knife® surgery.

Image of Gamma Knife device with patient and provider
Photo courtesy of Elekta

Our expertise

The physicians and staff at UCHealth Gamma Knife Center offer a level of experience and expertise found only in the most advanced facilities in the country. Since opening in 1993, we have treated more than 5,300 patients for malignant and benign tumors, trigeminal neuralgia, acoustic neuroma, and nearly 30 other complex neurological conditions and disorders of the brain.

Our team of specialists has averaged over 200 Gamma Knife procedures a year, putting UCHealth Gamma Knife Center in the top 5 percent nationwide.

How to find us

The Gamma Knife Center is located on the first floor of the Anschutz Outpatient Pavilion (AOP) at the end of the Radiology hallway.

Benefits of Gamma Knife radiosurgery

Gamma Knife radiosurgery, also called stereotactic radiosurgery, offers the following benefits:

  • Extreme precision. Allows a powerful dose of radiation to be delivered with no or minimal damage to healthy surrounding tissue and structures.
  • No incision. Results in fewer complications such as bleeding, infection, or cerebrospinal fluid leakage.
  • Painless. Requires no general anesthesia, eliminating the related potential side effects.
  • One-time treatment. Performed in a single session, primarily on an outpatient basis and only occasionally requiring an overnight stay.
  • No down time. Patients can return to their normal activities almost immediately, with no rehabilitation necessary.
  • Low cost. Covered by most insurance plans and costs much less than traditional treatments.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs) about Gamma Knife

Is Gamma Knife radiosurgery considered surgery?

No, Gamma Knife radiosurgery is a type of radiation therapy and does not involve any incisions.

Instead, a headframe will be placed with local topical anesthesia. The headframe will hold your head in position for the radiation beams to target the lesion. During the Gamma Knife procedure, you will remain awake and you will not feel the radiation being delivered.

Does the Gamma Knife treatment hurt?

No, Gamma Knife radiosurgery itself does not hurt.

The Gamma Knife is also silent, so you don’t need to be concerned about loud noises. There is some discomfort associated with the head frame placement, which the Gamma Knife team tries to minimize with medications.

What is involved with a Gamma Knife procedure?

After you check in the morning of the procedure, you will be taken to the pre-operative area. You will change into a gown and an IV will be started.

You will then be escorted to the UCHealth Gamma Knife Center, where you will meet your Gamma Knife nurses and your treating physician. After your questions have been answered, you will sign a written consent form. After you sign the form, your nurses will provide light sedation and your physician will apply local, topical anesthesia. This will be followed with the positioning of a lightweight head frame, which will hold your head in position for the radiation beams to target the lesion.

Next, you’ll have MRI or CT imaging done that your treatment team will use, along with advanced software, to precisely map out your Gamma Knife treatment.

Once your customized treatment plan has been developed, you will be positioned in the Gamma Knife machine. The treatment time varies, depending on complexity and number of lesions and their location in the brain. You will not see or feel anything during the radiation treatment.

After your treatment is completed, your nurses will remove your headframe and place a bandage on your head. You will then be escorted to the post-operative area, where you should plan to stay about an hour prior to going home.

How long will my visit last?

Most patients can expect to spend approximately 5-8 hours total at our center.

Are there any side effects from Gamma Knife radiosurgery?

The side effects of Gamma Knife radiosurgery are typically minor and can vary between patients. Some of the most common, short-term side effects reported by patients include:

  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Mild swelling of the forehead and eyelids
  • Temporary numbness of the scalp

Long-term side effects involving the brain depend on the exact nature of the lesions being treated. These will be discussed by your doctor at the time of treatment.

What happens after I have Gamma Knife radiosurgery?

After your Gamma Knife treatment, you’ll go back to your daily activities as soon as you feel up to it. For most patients, this is within a day or two of treatment.

Your tumor or lesion will not be eradicated during the radiosurgery. Instead, it will shrink or disappear slowly over time.

Gamma Knife treatment plans are sent to referring and consulting physicians with follow-up recommendations. You will have follow-up MRIs and/or CT scans to ensure the treatment was effective. Your treating physician at the UCHealth Gamma Knife Center will let you know how often you may need to follow up with your health care providers.

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