Patients and Visitors
Gamma Knife Relieves Donna’s AVM Pain: Patient Stories
Treatment for congenital arteriovenous malformation (AVM)
In her early 40s, Donna developed debilitating migraines. Headaches were a normal occurrence for her, but their growing intensity was frightening.
The cause was uncovered during a yearly visit to her optometrist, who noted problems with the optic nerve. Her internist ordered an MRI, which revealed the AVM.
A birth defect of the circulatory system, an AVM is a tangle of arteries and veins in the brain. Neurological damage builds slowly, and AVMs are generally diagnosed between ages 20 and 40.
Donna’s neurosurgeon recommended non-invasive treatment with Gamma Knife®.
The latest model, Perfexion™, is available in Tacoma at St. Joseph Medical Center. Gamma Knife shrinks or destroys small tumors or lesions in the head without harming delicate surrounding tissue. A neurosurgeon and radiation oncologist use 3-D magnetic resonance imaging to precisely locate the target and plan the single-session treatment. Patients remain awake during the procedure and return home the same day.
Depending on the condition treated, Gamma Knife results may be seen right away or may take months. In Donna’s case, her AVM shrunk noticeably over the first two months and then stagnated. Then just past her two-year follow-up, the AVM had shrunk to a pinpoint.
“I’ve got my life back,” Donna says.
For more information or a referral, please call 1-888-825-3227.