Psychological effects of staged Stereotactic Radiosurgery?

Recently had my 1st dose of the Gamma Knife post bleed(another dose in July because of the AVM size) and was wondering what complications could arise from having multiple radiosurgery's or even just a single treatment.

For those who did radiosurgery, what were the mental effects like for you?

Hi will, my avm has not ruptured but a secondary condition caused by the avm started in august last year which led to the discovery of the avm in my cerebellum. Due to the size and location of the avm a craniotomy was quickly ruled out and stereotactic radiosurgery was decided to be my best option. i had my first treatment in February yhis year but due to the size of the avm i need to have 2 treatments so i have my next one in 3 weeks. I was prepared by my neurosurgeon for the physical affects of gk ( sore pin sites, headaches and fatigue) but nothing else. after the treatment I had what I describe as a complete brain meltdown with hallucinations, very bad mood swings, extreme anxiety etc. after suffering alone with this for ten days I eventually sought advice from sheffield who did my treatment and from my gp. I was advised that my reaction was completely normal and I was prescribed amitriptyline to help, looking back I just wish I had been warned that these problems may
occur, I thought I was going insane for a while. The amitriptyline did help and I am back to normal but dreading the next treatment now but at least I now know what to expect! I am
also arranging counselling to help me deal with everything that’s gone on as talking about it all will help me I think. I was advised that staged treatment poses no more risk that a single treatment, in fact possible less risky but due to the size of my avm i have a success rate of only 66% compared to about 80% in general cases.
hope that helps?

hi, thanks that really helped. How big is your AVM?

The avm is approx 5-6 cm wide at the largest point, my neurosurgeon estimated it was between 25 - 30 cubic cms which is big but certainly not the biggest they have treated. what about you?

I've had 4 rounds of Gamma Knife for an unruptured AVM. I typically end up with migraines afterwards and I've lost hair twice. I haven't really had any other side effects.

I also had a craniotomy 4 weeks after the first GK to clip to unruptured aneurysms. I did have fatigue and difficulty concentrating for a while after that.

Mines was about 6 cm as well

Did they need 4 just because of the size or was the previous attempts no good? And how long of a period was it between each GK procedure?

I had 4 treatments due to the size. The first 3 were each 6 months apart (June 2011, December 2011, June 2012). They targeted different areas of the AVM. I had a followup MRI @ 1 year & 2 years after the 3rd GK. After the 2 year MRI (June 2014), they determined that the AVM had shrunk by 70%, but wasn't gone, so I had the 4th GK.

Have you been given a success rate of the gk based on our size avm? 66% from my neurosurgeon was lower than I was expecting so I wondered if they were being a little cautious? after my 2nd treatment in 2 weeks I have to wait 2 years for a follow up mri to see if it’s started to work, what about you? I think mentally this is going to be a tough time and a very long time to wait.


For me the success rate is 50% but because of the bleed, the chance of having another bleed goes up. So I was advised radiosurgery would be the best option now. Before the bleed I was advised to just observe it.