Upstate Neurosurgery offers the world's most sophisticated neurosurgical tool—the Gamma Knife—the "Gold Standard" of radiosurgery for patients with brain tumors or disorders in risky or inaccessible locations. This tool, which is not really a knife but beams of gamma radiation, eradicates small brain tumors and other disorders without an incision—and without the pain, risk and longer hospitalization associated with conventional brain surgery.
Appropriate Disorders for Gamma Knife Treatment
- Arteriovenous malformations (AVMs)
- Acoustic tumors
- Deep-seated intracranial tumors
- Metastatic brain tumors
- Pituitary tumors
- Partially resected tumors
- Trigeminal neuralgia
Only at Upstate Medical University
In Central New York, Gamma Knife treatment is offered only at University Hospital's dedicated radiosurgery facility. Opened in 1998, this was only the third Gamma Knife in New York State, the 39th in the United States. Over 1,700 Gamma Knife procedures have been performed at Upstate's Central New York Gamma Knife Center. Patients who are treated with the Gamma Knife remain in the hospital for just one night after treatment and return almost immediately to their normal routines.
How the Gamma Knife Works
Extraordinary Precision The Leksell Gamma Knife® is a radiosurgical device that enables doctors to treat deep-seated intracrancial lesions without the risk of open-skull surgery. The "blades" of the Gamma Knife are beams of gamma radiation, programmed to bombard the lesion only at the precise point of intersection. Independently, these beams pass harmlessly through the skull and surrounding tissue. The Gamma Knife destroys its target—and only its target—by delivering 201 tiny, but powerful, beams of intersecting radiation through a collimator helmet attached to a stereotactic headframe. The goal of Gamma Knife radiosurgery is not to remove the lesion, but to arrest its growth. Gamma radiation works by "deranging" molecules in tumor cells, so they stop duplicating and eventually die.
Advantages of Gamma Knife Radiosurgery
In addition to its very high success rate, Gamma Knife radiosurgery offers several distinct advantages:
- Extraordinary Precision: a high dose of radiation is focused at a precise target, with minimal risk to adjacent tissues and structures.
- Noninvasive: No surgical risks, such as infection
- Minimal Discomfort: Patient may be lightly sedated but is awake throughout the entire procedure. (Children are sedated.)
- Short Hospital Stay: At most, an overnight admission is required.
- Prompt Recovery: Rarely are more that two or three days required for recovery.
- Economical: Gamma Knife surgery often costs 25%-30% less than conventional, open-skull neurosurgery.