How is a person's head held in place during gamma knife surgery?

Isaac Yang, MD
Gamma knife surgery is a particular brand of radiosurgery that can be used to treat acoustic neuromas. During gamma surgery, doctors need to put a gamma knife Leksell frame onto the person’s head. This is done by screwing four screws into the person’s skull to hold the frame in place. The doctor will numb those areas.

In linear accelerator-based radiosurgery, screws are not put into a person’s skull. Instead, doctors use a thermal plastic mask, essentially a plastic mask that is fitted exactly to the person’s face, and this holds the person's head steady.

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