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AVM Survivors Network

Laser surgery

I was just told I have a 2.2 mm Brain Aneurysm. In 11/2 years it has actually shrunk to 1.7 mm my doctor told me today he will leave me alone until I start to feel ill which happens only rarely. He wants to give me laser surgery on it when I am ready. Has anyone had laser surgery on their aneurysm? What are the side affects and risks if any please.

Thank You,
Justice

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Hi @Justice,

I’ve not heard of laser therapy. I assume you might mean stereotactic radiotherapy, which is like laser-thin radiotherapy directed into your body / head to zap just the bit that needs zapping.

I don’t know of others having radiotherapy on an aneurysm, though I guess it would be the same as having radiotherapy on an AVM and lots of people have had that done here.

I hope some of the gamma knife patients can say “yes” to you.

How are you feeling about it?

Best wishes,

Richard

Hey there @Justice! I’ve had gamma knife surgery twice. It was basically 201 lasers being shot in a very particular spot in the brain to seal off the AVM. It sounds both painful and horrendous. However, it was very 21st century and frankly for a sci-fi fan like me, not painful at all, and very cool! I offer this link as an example (though your treatment team will have more specific guidance) https://youtu.be/7ScVu-ZGfu8

I hope that helps and I hope all goes well. Blessings as you continue!

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Thank you so much I was terrified at first but since my new aneurysm is only at 1.7 mm. I am willing to give it a try. Wish there was a whole new and not painful way of getting rid of these aneurysms. Sorry I took so long to answer you.

I just watched the video on youtube of the Gamma knife surgery. It scared me to see they put a metal frame around your head. Do they pierce your skull? Does it hurt a lot? They say the surgery is much faster these days. it scares me because I am Claustraphobic and will want to move around. How did you do with this procedure? Thank you very much.

Peace,
Justice

Hi Justice. I had Gamma Knife in November of 2016. The frame is uncomfortable for sure but they do freeze the sites, and there is the option of some relaxants to reduce the anxiety and fear. The actual gamma knife unit was quiet and really quite relaxing, the MRI is much tighter quarters and really loud. My gamma knife was a success with complete obliteration and I look at it as a really positive experience. My team was beyond excellent and it is a common thread here. People in the brain business are really committed to helping us as best they can. Take Care, John.

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To echo John, I’ve had gamma knife three times now. Compared to other neurological surgeries, gamma knife is a breeze!

Check out this walkthrough below: https://youtu.be/7ScVu-ZGfu8

If you can handle rush hour traffic you can handle gamma knife in my opinion! Blessings as you continue!

Thank you for your positive opinion. I will look into it. Please take care,

Peace,

Justice

Thank you so much John you really made me feel more confident in this surgery.

Please take care.

Justice

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Thank you so much for your helpful opinion. It looks like I may consider it.

Please take care,

Justice

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Sorry I am answering you so late. I feel afraid to do anymore surgeries.

Well, I think you’ve done the worst one already! I believe you’ve had a craniotomy – which is like O.M.G. scary and can take a very long time to get better after. Stereotactic radiation therapy takes a few minutes to actually have the operation, depending on how long they need to zap you for. The head brace that they fit to make sure that the zaps all go in exactly the right place is very unpleasant but it’s a lot less to get over than a craniotomy.

The frame doesn’t pierce your skull. It is just fitted very tightly so it doesn’t shift. I would think you could talk to the doctor about your nervousness and claustrophobia and they might give you a drug to relax you.

@JD12 is a gamma knife patient: he can encourage you through what it is about. I really believe (as an operation) it is unpleasant rather than anything like as scary as a craniotomy.

The other thing to think about is that once it is done, every day thereafter you’d be getting a tiny bit better, so that a couple of years down the line, hopefully you can put having an aneurysm way behind you.

None of this is pleasant and none of us choose to be in this space but I really, honestly, think you’ve done the really difficult bit already. It’s put you off further surgery because it was so difficult but SRS (a.k.a. gamma knife) is not as scary. Honest.

Sending you my very best wishes!

Richard

Thank you so much Dick. I did go through heck with that Craniotomy. I was in the hospital for 2 1/2 months. You explained it very well to me and it looks like that is what I am going to do when I need another surgery. Thank you so much for your wonderful explanation. Please take care.

Blessings,

Justice

You’re welcome! I can imagine that the craniotomy is not something ever to contemplate more than absolutely necessary!!

If or when you go forwards with gamma knife, let us know and we’ll cheer you on as best we can from around the world!

Keep safe!

Richard

Justice, there’s a whole bunch of us Gamma knifers here, I think most would say the procedure is not bad at all. Like Richard said it is a long way from a craniotomy. We would definitely all be here for you if you decide to head that route. The folks doing these are so good at making us feel comfortable and at ease. I find the MRI worse just because of the noise. John.

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I had craniotomy for my first surgery. Was also in there for 2 1/2 months. Long story short my AVM Is it ruptured and didn’t no I had one. Was airlifted to the hospital and had emergency surgery to stop the bleeding. Had lots of tests done and then craniotomy done. The surgery went well but I kept having seizures. They weren’t the big ones but wouldn’t be responsive for a minute or two when a seizure happened. They then took me to have more test and they found I had 3 more very small blood clots from the bleed so I then had 3 lazier surgeries done.

Thank you all for your wonderful responses please take care and many blessings to all.

Peace,

Justice

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