Gamma Knife Surgery Asleep or Awake?

I had my first appointment at the gamma centre yesterday, and was put on the waiting list (should be done in about 3 - 4 months). I’ve been advised that it’s best for me to have a general anaesthetic to have the whole procedure done - frame fitting, MRI, angio, gamma knife and frame removal. This means I’ll be knocked out all day which I’m not sure about. My other option is to stay awake for the whole procedure (this is the usual way things are done). My problem is that I get really bad anxiety in hospital and become the patient from hell. I usually end up self discharging at some point because it all gets too much for me, but being knocked out makes me feel out of control. What are everyone else’s experiences of this. Were you knocked out? Were you awake? How was it for you? Would you rather have been given the option of being knocked out and weren’t?

Hi loz, im like you,i get worked up, I had no choice but to stay awake, but if I did, i would say sleep rite through it all, Chicken lil here…lol.

thats true liam, it can be very dangerous to be knocked out too.

I had the gamma knife and the lineac procedure which is pretty much the gamma knife but reaches a larger range. I was awake for both. The placement and removal of the halo does make you anixious and it can get very annoying sitting for such a long period of time but I would not want to be under an anesthetic for that long. I prefer not to be at all unless it is truely necessary. Do you take any medication for anxiety? Can they maybe treat you this way instead of putting you to sleep?

I have blood pressure problems too Liam. Mine went to 250 over about 190, and that was just having an angio last time. I know it’s not going to be ideal whichever way I choose to get this done, but at least if I’m awake I can tell people if things start to go wrong.

When I had my angio last time I was given Temazepam, which didn’t really touch me until about an hour after the procedure was finished. I just get so worked up that any medication just doesn’t work.

I was awake and it was fine. The angio will be where you will get put to sleep. The halo may be a little discomforting but not too bad. Maybe a sedative to put you in lala land, but not to sleep. Gamma itself is a breeze compared to the rest. I fell asleep with the elevator music they played and staying up late the night before.

BE SURE to tell the anesthesiologist about your concerns. He or she might have something to help your anxiety so you don’t have to sleep through it all. General anesthesia can have its complications as Liam wrote.

I was told that I will be put to sleep for the whole thing, including the fitting of the halo, the angio, an MRI, the gamma, and frame removal

Yes, you might be put to sleep for the whole thing if your doctors recommend it.

I was wide awake and remember most everything - except the angio. It really wasn’t bad at all (though hospitals don’t give me anxiety). There was no pain with the frame after the initial tiny pin prick. I could feel it touching my head and I watched them screw in the frame but they were gentle and there was no actual pain. Someone is always there to talk you through everything.

Have you ever gotten a tooth pulled at the dentist? There is no pain in both cases. The experience of getting a tooth pulled was much worse I think. Would you get general anesthesia when getting a tooth pulled?

Wow I never thought of going through this stuff as an adult. It must be hard when you not used to stuff like that and the all of the sundden have to do it. I only had the the crainiotomy when I was a kid, but thanks to this experience hospital and their procedures don’t bug me one bit. I have to say am a rather good patient, in that nothing scares me I guess. But I also have a high tolarance for pain, I guess that is why I’m not a fraid to have another child. :o)
As far as the Angiogram I was under the assumption that you had to be awake for that, as when I did mine they made me hold my breath everytime the releaced any die. It wasn’t that bad though, the die burns a whole hell of alot, but I found it easy to get through. I thought the nurses were funny when they asked me if I was pregnant about 3 times each angio, since I was only 12. :o) Any who best of luck though, I’m always pray’n for yall.

I have not had gamma, but have done the MRI and angio bit already. I too have anxiety issues. I’ve had to be pulled out of the MRI once and burst into a panic right before my angio. You may ask them if you could simply have a light sedative instead of being put out completely. They used something in my IV during my angio which made me completely calm and relaxed, but didn’t knock me out or make me feel ‘drugged.’ It was quite a relief!

I’m given Diazepam just to get me intothe dentist’s chair - lol. It’s been like this for me since childhood.

I had gamma knife in march and I was awake for most of it but sedated…I remember parts of the mri and angio (that was hell) and when I finally went in for the actual radiation the sedation was wearing off because i was the last one forr the day and i didnt ask for more because I was going to be home soon. but while i was in for the radiation (it took about 3 hours) i was aware that i was becoming more and more conscious and noticing things around me
Im not sure if i would want to be knocked out for it though, there was so much to take in around me

My 18 yr old son had the Gamma in July. He had a sedative for the angio but was still aware of what was going on.
He said the worst part was the needles for the halo and when the halo came off. We took an MP3 player and he wore that for most of the day to pass the time. They also plugged his player into the stereo system for when he was in the Gamma Knife machine which also helped. He tells me the last song to play before the Gamma treatment ended was “Everything’s Gonna Be Alright” by Bob Marley… so I always cry when I hear this song now.
The nurse said that he was so brave for it all and did better than most older adults. I think part of that is being naive about any medical treatment but he did great.
I say - Take whatever they will give you! Just say YES to drugs! It is a very long day. You will be exhausted after it. My son was quite sick (vomitting) that night and the next day. He slept for about 3 days after and then it got better.
Take lots of support people with you to the hospital if possible. It really helps. Good luck and my thoughts are with you.

loz I know its better to be awake for it and I was awake for the whole thing, the halo and radiation, but I worked myself into a mess the day before, really the weeks before, number one chicken here, For me I would rather be asleep, heheh chicken little here,I worry of the unknown, but must say, it was not to bad, the radiation you feel nothing,m the halo , you get a shot for that, Let me know how it goes ok, wish you well,Caroline

I’ve opted for going to sleep, but feel very unsure about it, because I feel out of control. I can’t just walk out. But then I don’t know how I’d cope with the whole thing if I’m awake. I become the patient from hell when I’m awake. I get aggressive, and nasty with everyone around me. I have completely bizzare thoughts which are so irrational, but at the time they seem perfectly rational to me. I believe other people on the ward are staring at me, I don’t trust the doctors (I ask them all about their career’s and whether they’ve made any mistakes when they’ve treated people), I get tearful, I have thoughts that the medical staff will lie to me about what they’re doing, I never eat the food in hospital because I don’t know what’s in it, and I never sleep because I worry that they’ll get me while I’m sleeping - I tell you it’s all so off the wall and nothing like the person I really am. It frightens me because it’s so real to me. I sometimes think I’m going completely mad when I think about it afterwards.

its normal to worry about the unknown, I get worked up when I have to have an MRI, EVEN AN OPEN ONE,i cant breath, they have to give me meds to make it through the 45 minutes in the machine,I just shut down, silly but thats me.