by Megan Fink
Radiation Oncology and Neuro-sciences now have a non-invasive device
that will allow them to treat patients with benign and malignant tumors
in the head and neck using a precise dose of radiation.
Elekta’s Leksell Gamma Knife Perfexion is unloaded from a truck Nov.
16. The gamma knife will be installed on the first floor of the
Elekta’s Leksell Gamma
Knife Perfexion delivers a single dose of ionizing radiation to a
predetermined target set by advanced imaging. It eradicates once
inaccessible tumors and vascular malformations without the risks of
surgery. Contrary to its name, the gamma knife is not a knife at all.
Its 201 focused beams are what actually pierce a tumor. This precision
allows the multidisciplinary team to treat tumors set deep into the
brain or those located near the spinal cord, or other vulnerable areas,
without damaging surrounding healthy tissue.
“The gamma knife is an important piece of medical equipment that will
allow clinicians at MUSC to target and treat tiny lesions in the
central nervous system with sub-millimeter accuracy,” said Joseph
Jenrette, M.D., Radiation Oncology chair. “It will build on MUSC’s
lengthy expertise in stereotactic radiosurgery, which was established
in 1991 when the Medical University started the first program of its
kind in South Carolina.”
Treatment is a bloodless procedure in which the computer room becomes a
virtual operating room where physicians and physicists map out the
tumor utilizing 3-D technology. Patients are not required to remove
scalp hair. The procedure does, however, shave off at least an hour of
treatment time from conventional brain surgery, allowing the patient to
leave the hospital that same day. Intensive post-operative care is not
needed, though the surgical team may suggest the patient stay overnight
for observation if needed.
The stereotactic radiosurgery program utilizing the gamma knife is a
cross-specialty technology in which physicians and staff from the
departments of Radiation Oncology, Neurosciences, and Radiology
“MUSC Neurosciences in collaboration with Radiation Oncology adds yet
another technology for the care of patients with various brain
disorders,” said Sunil Patel, M.D., Department of Neuro-sciences chair.
“The Perfexion is the newest in gamma knife technology and also will be
used for the treatment of a variety of neurological disorders in coming
decades. With the addition of the gamma knife, MUSC Neurosciences
remains at the cutting edge for the treatment of brain tumors and AVMs
(arteriovenous malformations) in South Carolina.”
The gamma knife is currently being installed on the first floor of the
University Hospital and should be ready for clinical use in the next
few months. Patients with brain metastases, astrocytomas, ateriovenous
malforma-tions, acoustic neuromas, meningiomas and pituitary tumors are
candidates for this technology. Obsessive-compulsive disorder,
depressions, and seizures may also in part be treated.
The gamma knife program also provides MUSC an educational and training opportunity for residents.
Friday, Nov. 20, 2009