Although Gamma Knife radiosurgery represents a revolution in neurosurgery, the technology is supported by more than 25 years of research, evaluation, and successful clinical use. Its effectiveness is well documented. In most patients, their arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) or small to medium-size tumor shrinks or is obliterated. In fact, this noninvasive treatment is being extended to an increasing number of clinical applications. Currently, the Gamma Knife is primarily used to treat AVMs, metastatic brain tumors, meningiomas, acoustic neuromas, pituitary adenomas, craniopharyngiomas, and other tumors of the skull base and pineal region.
In December 2007, Barrow upgraded to a Perfexion Gamma Knife.
A Revolution in Neurosurgery
Some of the most sophisticated neurosurgery and radiation oncology departments in the world are using the Gamma Knife to treat benign and malignant brain tumors or cerebrovascular malformations and to manage functional disorders in critical locations of the brain. These vital treatments are administered without surgical risk, long hospital stays, or incisions. For these reasons, stereotactic radiosurgery is changing the way the world thinks about neurosurgery.
The principle behind the Gamma Knife is relatively simple: precisely-targeted radiation can cause certain brain tumors and AVMs to shrink and even to become obliterated over time, without harming adjacent normal tissue. The technology, however, is complex. Through advanced imaging and three-dimensional planning techniques, the Gamma Knife delivers a single, high dose of ionizing radiation by precisely pinpointing the target. It does so by sending low-intensity beams from 192 cobalt-60 sources through a device known as the collimator helmet. Only at the point where all 192 beams converge at a single, finely-focused point is enough radiation delivered to treat the diseased tissue. Other nearby healthy tissue is spared. Accurate to less than two-tenths of a millimeter, the Gamma Knife's precision is one of its greatest advantages.
When conventional surgery cannot be pursued due to the location of a lesion in the brain, or to a patient's age or poor health, the Gamma Knife provides an alternative. Because treatment is performed without an incision, this procedure seldom requires general anesthesia, which eliminates many potential side effects and risks associated with conventional surgery. By avoiding the risks of postoperative complications, such as infection and hemorrhage (bleeding), the recovery phase is short. Patients avoid lengthy hospital stays and postsurgical discomfort. Expensive medication and long-term rehabilitation are unnecessary, and most patients return to their normal activities within a week.
Gamma Knife Center Team
The Barrow Gamma Knife treatment team consists of medical experts who are specially trained in Gamma Knife stereotactic radiosurgery. The team includes medical physicists, nurses, and physician specialists -- including neurosurgeons, radiation oncologists, neuro-otologists, and neurosurgeons -- whose combined skills offer patients a customized treatment program based on the needs of each individual patient.
For additional information about the Gamma Knife, please call 1-800-315-0980 or 602-406-6075 or complete the contact request form on the contact us page.