Gamma Knife Stereotactic Radiosurgery

Lexsell Gamma Knife Perfexion: A Non-Invasive Alternative

The Leksell Gamma Knife® Perfexion™ is an effective, non-invasive alternative to traditional brain surgery. This highly sophisticated technology directs precisely focused radiation to specific targets in the brain. Typically performed in a single outpatient treatment session without general anesthesia, the Gamma Knife helps patients avoid incision, scarring, and long hospital stays while minimizing surgical complications. For many conditions, Gamma Knife Perfexion treatment is the most accurate form of stereotactic radiosurgery available. 192 beams of Cobalt 60 radiation are delivered through the intact skull to a small and critically located intracranial volume, to arrest or alter tissue growth.

The Gamma Knife, which contains no blade and makes no incision, is exclusively designed for the treatment of malignant and benign brain tumors, vascular malformations and trigeminal neuralgia. As a non-invasive treatment for individuals with well-defined patient profiles, Gamma Knife surgery offers a low-risk, safe and cost-effective alternative.

The Gamma Knife Perfexion combines data from three-dimensional computer imaging studies with a stereotactic head frame to precisely focus radiation. It can destroy, arrest or reduce tumors, cause lesions to deteriorate, close arteriovenous malformations, and alter the conducting pain fibers in cases of trigeminal neuralgia.

At the time of treatment, the patient is fitted with a stereotactic head frame, which serves as a measuring guide and helps keep the head in a fixed position to assure maximum treatment accuracy. The frame's external axis is used to determine coordinates for targeting the abnormality.

After the frame is attached, the patient receives an MRI, CT, or angiographic scan. Data from the imaging study is transferred into the state-of-the-art treatment planning computer, which enables the treatment team (a neurosurgeon, radiation oncologist, radiation physicist and technicians) to tailor radiation dose distribution to conform specifically to the lesion volume. Completing the treatment plan takes one to two hours, depending on the complexity and location of the disease.

When the treatment plan is completed, the patient is placed on the Gamma Knife couch and precisely positioned. Next, the patient is introduced headfirst into the Gamma Knife, and the procedure begins. The patient is treated with 192 sources of Cobalt 60 housed in the Gamma Knife. The 192 single doses of gamma rays converge at the target area and deliver a dose that is high enough to destroy the diseased tissue without damaging surrounding healthy tissue. This precisely focused radiation targets the lesion, sparing the surrounding healthy tissue.


  USC Gamma Knife Team


Our Gamma Knife team at Keck Hospital of USC and the Keck School of Medicine of USC includes neurosurgeons, radiation oncologists, medical physicists, radiation therapists and nurses. Our multidisciplinary team evaluates each patient to determine whether Gamma Knife treatment is the best option. The patient's medical history is reviewed, along with imaging studies and information provided by the patient's physician. If Gamma Knife treatment is not considered appropriate, the team will suggest an alternate treatment option.

Neurosurgery
Arun P. Amar, MD
Michael L.J. Apuzzo, MD
Steven L. Giannotta, MD
John Peter Gruen, MD
Gabriel Zada, MD

Otology, Neurotology and Skull Base Surgery
Rick A. Friedman, MD, PhD

Radiation Oncology
Eric L. Chang, MD
Richard L.S. Jennelle, MD
Nicholas Trakul, MD, PhD

Radiology
Paul E. Kim, MD

Physics
Almon Shiu, PhD
Cheng Yu, PhD
Sue Zhou, PhD

Nurse Coordinator
Mairead C. Rusch, RN

Gamma Knife treatment offers the following advantages:

  • Non-invasive procedure.
  • Delivered in a single treatment session.
  • Precise mechanical accuracy of .3mm.
  • Decreased risk: avoids risks and complications of traditional surgery.
  • Minimal hospital stay: usually performed in an outpatient treatment session; patient can resume normal activities within days of procedure.
  • Cost-effective: Reduced costs due to post-surgical complications; no expenses for disability and convalescence.
  • Reimbursement by most insurance payors.

The Gamma Knife Perfexion System:

  • Has new radiation shielding levels that are up to 100 times better than alternative technologies on the market.
  • Provides unlimited reach to areas in the brain, and with future fixation devices, can reach into the cervical spine area.
  • Being fully automated makes the treatment process more user friendly and efficient for both the treating physicians and patients.
  • Includes added features to increase patient comfort while still providing the most accurate stereotactic radiosurgical procedures for the brain.

For more information on Gamma Knife treatment at Keck Hospital of USC, or if you are a physician who wishes to refer a patient, please call the Department of Radiation Oncology at: 323-865-3050, or the Gamma Knife Nurse Coordinator, Mairead Rusch, RN, at 323-442-8860.

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University of Southern California University of Southern California