Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To our knowledge, this is the first long-term follow-up study of high-dose single-session irradiation to the human brain and provides new data concerning late tissue reactions after irradiation to small target volumes. The long-term lesional brain changes in 14 patients subjected to bilateral gamma knife capsulotomy for otherwise intractable anxiety disorders were retrospectively analyzed by magnetic resonance imaging.

METHODS:

The prototype gamma unit was used for the radiosurgical procedure, and the collimators provided rectangular cross-sectional fields with an anteroposterior diameter of 3 mm and a transverse diameter of 5 or 11 mm. Maximum target doses were 120 to 180 Gy. Magnetic resonance imaging was performed 15 to 18 years (mean, 17 yr) after treatment, and dose-volume histograms were calculated for the dose distributions.

RESULTS:

One patient had been irradiated twice on one side. In all but one of the remaining 27 targets, lesions with a volume of less than 100 mm3 were revealed by magnetic resonance imaging. The volumes of the lesions were confined within the volume corresponding to a minimum dose of approximately 110 Gy, with one exception. In one of three targets receiving a maximum dose of 120 Gy, no lesion was detected. There were no late radiation effects such as cyst formations, telangiectasias, hemorrhagic infarctions, or neoplasms.

CONCLUSION:

This investigation indicates that a minimum dose of 110 Gy, with the currently used 4-mm collimator, to the edge of the target volume is required to create a lesion. The results prove that gamma knife surgery can be used in functional neurosurgery for producing small permanent lesions in the normal human brain.