If you have a brain tumor, then your physician may suggest a gamma knife radiation treatment for you. This type of treatment is a targeted type of radiation therapy where small beams of radiation are focused on your brain tumor. Around 200 light beams may be directed at it, and radiation is delivered where the beams meet in the brain. This helps to force a strong dose of radiation directly at the brain tumor without damaging the healthy tissues that sit near it. Gamma knife radiation therapy is typically conducted on an outpatient basis, and you will need to do a few things at home to prepare for the procedure.
Use A Strong Shampoo
Gamma knife radiation requires precision to ensure proper treatment. Otherwise, healthy tissues may be damaged, and this may cause brain damage. To ensure precision, your head must be kept absolutely still during the entire procedure. A type of head frame is secured directly to your skull to make sure that you cannot move. Small needles on the frame will be inserted into the skull. Once the frame is secured, imaging will be conducted on your brain to find the exact location of the brain tumor. The computerized gamma knife system will then plan out how and where the radiation beams need to be directed.
You will be provided with some anesthetic around the needle insertion sites, and a technician will guide the frame in place. To make the entire frame placement process as easy as possible, you will be asked to use a strong shampoo beforehand to make sure your scalp is as clean as possible. Make sure to use the shampoo the day before the procedure to remove all of the dead skin cells and oil that sit on the scalp.
If you are not provided with a shampoo, then make sure to purchase a deep cleaning, clarifying, or scalp cleansing shampoo to use. You can also deep clean the scalp by scrubbing at the head with baking soda. When you are done, rinse your head with vinegar. The reaction between the two ingredients will help to foam and work the debris off the scalp.
Do Not Eat After Midnight
Gamma knife radiation is not considered an operation, and this means that anesthesia is not necessary. However, you will be placed in a sphere or treatment area that can be claustrophobic to some. Also, the planning stage of the treatment, as well as the treatment itself, can take several hours to complete. This means you will need to stay still for most of the day. To reduce stress and anxiety, a mild sedative may be administered through an IV. Some sedatives can cause nausea, so it is best to go through treatment on an empty stomach.
Radiation treatment itself can cause nausea and vomiting issues as well. Typically, this occurs when larger doses of radiation are administered. However, nausea is often associated with therapy that is administered to the head or brain. Not eating on the day of treatment can help to reduce nausea concerns.
You also should think about eating easily digestable foods the day or two before the gamma knife treatment to keep digestive discomfort at bay. This can cause a nausea issue as well, especially if you have a great deal of gas. Yogurt, bananas, oatmeal, eggs, brown rice, leafy greens, fish, and chicken are all foods that are easy to digest.
Gamma knife radiation treatment may be needed if you have a brain tumor. To prepare for the treatment, you should make sure to use a deep cleaning shampoo and stop eating around midnight the day before the treatment. Your physician may have other preparation instructions that need to be followed as well, so make sure to consult with him or her or a clinic, such as Billings Clinic, beforehand.