How Much Does Gamma Knife Surgery Cost?
Gamma Knife® surgery has been globally established as the preferred treatment for brain tumors, malformations, and dysfunctions. It is referred to as a stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS). It offers a non-invasive substitute for numerous patients who cannot consider traditional brain surgery.
How much is it?
- The cost of the Gamma Knife® procedure is 25% to 30% less than traditional neurosurgery. The lack of an incision in this procedure eliminates the risk of severe blood loss and infection, and unlike other methods, patients will only experience slight discomfort and can resume previous activities within 24 hours. On average, the ballpark price range will be anywhere from $20,000 to $60,000, which is less when compared to open surgery, which can start at $35,000 or more. These are all prices for those who don’t have a health insurance plan.
- Those who have health insurance may want to consult with their insurance company as you will find the procedure could be covered under your plan.
- According to a NCBI study, the average 12-month costs of treating brain metastases, acoustic neuromas, and AVM with GKRS were USD$23,069, $37,840, and $46,293.
What is going to be included?
- Gamma Knife surgery is a precise and effective procedure that uses radiation to help treat the brain. By using this method, doctors are able to focus on the radiation directly, targeting the brain without having to worry about affecting the surrounding healthy tissue. The unique thing about this procedure is that there is no incision or blood, making it less risky compared to the traditional surgeries.
- This surgery can help with malignant tumors, malignant gliomas, benign tumors, vascular malformations, ocular disorders and function disorders.
- During the procedure, a radiation oncologist will use 3D computer images to target multiple beams of radiation directly into the tumor. The surgery delivers 192 precisely focused beans to small targets inside the brain. The procedure, depending on the severity, will last anywhere from one to four hours. Depending on the final outcome, more than one procedure will be needed. Recovery should take about 24 to 48 hours.
- Before the procedure begins, a local anesthesia will be administered and a stereotactic frame will be attached to the patient’s head. Once attached, the patient’s head will be imaged using either an MRI or CT scanner. With these results, the professionals will be able to create a treatment plan developed by specialized software. This plan will determining the gamma ray dosage and the location of the brain where the treatment will be administered. The patient will lie on the Gamma Knife unit treatment bed and the process will begin. Depending on the treatment, if more than one sessions is needed, the patient will be able to rest in between sessions to allow the doctors to make minor adjustments. After the sugery is done, the patient will be able to go home and will come in for a follow-up appointment in the near future.
- A patient won’t see or even feel any radiation and the only discomfort a patient may feel is when a local anesthetic is applied prior the procedure. Patientsconsciousonsicious for this procedure.
- This procedure will be done on an outpatient basis and no hospital stay will be required.
- The effects of this procedure won’t be instant; instead, it could take years for it to complete. Understand this procedure won’t remove the growth, but it will change the cell DNA so it can’t produce anymore.
- Common side effects include scalp swelling, skin irritation, headaches, nausea, brain swelling, necrosis and hair loss.
What are the extra costs?
- A post-treatment follow-up is essential to observe the progress. This is beyond the price quotation noted above for the treatment. Hence, an additional fee may be charged unless the physician chooses to do it pro-bono and include it in the original quote.
- Specialist fees are most likely separate from what you pay for the procedure since they usually base the professional fee on the severity of the treatment as well as the duration. The more sessions you need to finish the surgery, the higher the amount may be. This could include hospital or anesthesiologist fees. All hospitals will have its own billing policies.
Tips to know
- This procedure has many benefits. It’s bloodless, it’s painless and it won’t result in hair loss. It also has well-documented clinical studies for many brain diseases and disorders. This surgery, when compared to other forms of radiation, directly targets an area instead of the adjacent brain tissue. For most patients, they will only need a one-day treatment, not a treatment session that lasts weeks. It’s also a good option for those who have tried other methods and have failed.
- To determine if you’re a suitable candidate for this procedure, a doctor will look at your medical history and previous imaging studies. While most doctors will refer thier patients for this type of surgery, some patients may self-refer themselves.
- The surgery is often done in conjunction with other surgeries, radiation therapy and chemotherapy.
- More than 60,000 patients get this surgery annually.
- Unlike other treatments, your head won’t be shaved for the surgery.
How can I save money?
- This surgery is extremely cost effective and usually reimbursed fully by most, if not all, insurance plans and Medicare. Check with your insurance company to see if it’s covered.
- Studies have shown this surgery is less expensive than conventional neurosurgery because it eliminates hospital stays, medication and rehabilitation sessions.
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