Long Term side effects of Gamma Knife

My husband had the Gamma Knife procedure twice, in 1999 and 2001. Since the procedures that did get rid of the Vein of Galen AVM, he has suffered from depression that doesn’t seem to be remedied by medications (he’s tried them all, most recently Pristiq) and counseling. It is very cyclical and at times he will go years with only minimal symptoms and at other times, the symptoms are debilitating. Has anyone else experienced depression that doesn’t seem to be helped in traditional ways since the Gamma Knife?

Hi Amanda, My hubby had Gamma Knife twice in 2003 and again in 2006 before we moved to Texas after I got laid off. Things started to seem like they were going good for us but with the economy going down, keeping jobs are hard enough. Recently he got a job in Cali and so we’re moving back but I’ve noticed he’s not happy with his job and it is now affected us all. He moved back to Cali ahead of us so we’ve been apart the last few months. At first I thought it to be him just being homesick and away but now it seems that his depression moods seem to come and go and we tend to argue about the same things over and over again. I’m trying to be patient but now it’s starting to make me wonder if his AVM is playing a big part now. I cannot get him on meds or counseling because we don’t have insurance yet to do so right now but even so, I doubt he’ll ask for help. Others think it’s just a macho thing and tell me to be patient with him but they just don’t see what I see daily. The issues aren’t major but still it’s beginning to affect everyone else with ME in the middle. Sorry, I have no advice for you but glad to hear I’m not alone. Hang in there.

Hello Amanda,
I’ve had my Gamma Knife procedure in September of 2008, and I’ve experienced sessions of major depression on and off after the procedure. I’ve never taken any medications, or had been through counseling.
I was very much in my head which made a lot of my coworkers uncomfortable, which made me wish I could control my depression. I’ve talked with one of the nurses prior to my Cerebral Angriogram procedure six months after my Gamma Knife, and she said that what I was experiencing was normal. I wish I had some advice to give you, but all I can say to you both is hang in there. You guys are not alone.
Hugs, Leslye

My daughter had her Gamma Knife procedure in July 2007 and suffers from fairly dramatic panic attacks and general anxiety, and yes, the meds so far seem to do nothing. She was 15 when she experienced her hemorrhage and the avm was inoperable. In addition to this anxiety (which is a form of depression) she has a great deal of memory problems and some subtle personality changes. We go back and forth thinking it was the bleed that did the damage, and then it was the gamma knife. There was some necrosis around where the radiation was directed, but probably everyone gets that. She is now 18 ending her first year in community college and struggling like crazy. She half believes she’s dumb which makes me crazy. According to a December 09 MRI the orginal avm is completely gone, she still has to have an angiogram. I am very sad to think that the gamma knife itself may have caused some of the problems she is having.

Hi Amanda

I am an AVM survivor. Had surgery for the bleed/avm, in 1993. 9 years ago, I was diagnosed with Organic Mood Disorder. This mood disorder is caused by traumatic brain injury/stroke victims. I’ve been in counselling, and have been on almost every med possible…and told that I am not “typical”. Recently, a doctor had a different theory, and that was, that maybe my moods were triggered by seizure activity. I can go up to 6 months where I feel somewhat (normal), and then BOOM, huge depression/anxiety/or I have the energy of the energizer bunny! Hope this might help.