Currently, the Gamma Knife is used primarily to inactivate benign brain tumors (acoustic neuromas, meningiomas, pituitary adenomas, craniopharyngiomas, and other tumors of the skull base and brain); malignant tumors; pain conditions such as trigeminal neuralgia; movement disorders such as tremor; and treatment-resistant epilepsy. Gamma Knife radiosurgery is a preferred option for many patients with cancer that has spread (metastasized) to the brain.
For certain patients with deep-seated tumors or AVMs, the Gamma Knife may be preferable to conventional surgery. Because the unit can tailor radiosurgical doses to lesions of suitable size, it is used as an alternative microsurgical or endovascular embolization in these patients.
In addition to their clinical uses, the Gamma Knife units are the focus of various research efforts to enhance our understanding of its radiobiologic effects and to identify new uses for the technology.