(We have to get you less stressed, so you can pick a new screen name!Ã‚Â
I'm glad I have you thinking!Ã‚Â And yes, I would absolutely get some more opinions.Ã‚Â Remember, it's your health, so even if you step on the toes of Dr. House, it doesn't really matter.Ã‚Â Making the best and most informed decision does.
Your situation has really bothered me - not that I think surgery is a bad option, but that you've been pushed awfully hard toward one treatment option.Ã‚Â (And, upon further reflection, I really disagree with the Translab approach - it just sounds like you'll sacrifice too much, and facial nerve preservation isn't a guarantee even with Translab.)Ã‚Â And, because I took a day off from work, I've been able to do a little research.Ã‚Â So, here goes:
Atlanta does have two Gamma Knife centers, at Piedmont and St. Joseph's.Ã‚Â Wellstar Kennestone hospital has applied to get a Cyberknife, but is meeting some resistance from Piedmont.Ã‚Â (Google 'Atlanta cyberknife' and you can read the article)Ã‚Â Piedmont also has a Trilogy machine, which is similar to a Cyberknife.Ã‚Â (And, oddly enough, has a live webcast at their website today at 5pm!)
The biggest differences between Gamma and Cyberknife are: 1) Gamma Knife uses Gamma radiation, Cyberknife and Trilogy use x-ray radiation and 2) Gamma Knife is done in one-shot (and requires a frame be bolted to your head to maintain perfect stillness), while Cyberknife is done over (usually) 3 to 5 days.
In reading the posts here, and doing lots of research, it seems that Cyberknife has some advantages.Ã‚Â The lower radiation doses seem to lead to less complications, and really, who want a metal frame bolted to their head?Ã‚Â Plus, gamma radiation is much more powerful than x-ray.Ã‚Â (I teach Physics and Astronomy, so I'm pretty much a big-time science geek.Ã‚Â I try to make up for it by running triathlons.)Ã‚Â If x-ray works fine, then gamma may be overkill.
To quote Mark, a long-time ANA member, the "House Ear Clinic" of cyberknife centers is at Stanford University.Ã‚Â However, there are a number of other sites, which you can check out here: http://www.accuray.com/contact/site_locations.htm
Oddly enough, I have some experience at three of these hospitals: my brother is a surgeon at Jefferson in Philly, a fellow Las Vegan AN patient had Cyberknife at Barrow Neurological Institue in Phoenix, and my wife was born at Overlook hospital in Summit, New Jersey.Ã‚Â I've been to all three hospitals, and they're all great institutions.Ã‚Â
I did notice that there are number of Cyberknife sites within a few hundred miles of Atlanta.Ã‚Â It might be a good idea to contact one of them and ask some questions.
I hope this helps.Ã‚Â Again, I don't want to advocate - I just want you to be able to make the best decision for you, and have the best outcome.
Good luck, and keep posting!