Gamma Knife brain tumor treatment without surgical incisions

It’s called Gamma Knife Perfexion, the non-invasive method for the treatment of numerous brain pathologies, also called “gamma-ray scalpel”.

This innovative technique is used to attack benign and malignant brain neoplasms, intracranial vascular malformations of less than 3 centimeters, eliminate residues of lesions not completely removed by the neurosurgeon or treat any relapses.

Over 90% of brain tumor cases respond well to this therapy, the effectiveness of which is around 80-90% depending on the type of pathology. Gamma Knife has also proved effective in the treatment of functional diseases such as trigeminal neuralgia or cluster headaches.

Gamma Knife treatment is available at Anthea Hospital (Bari) and Maria Cecilia Hospital (Cotignola-Ravenna), both part of GVM Care & Research.

The Gamma Knife does not replace conventional surgery, but completes it. It does not require skull incisions, nor general anesthesia and does not involve the risks associated with traditional neurosurgery.

Thanks to the precision and results obtained in the short term, Gamma Knife has become the therapy of choice for many tumor and vascular diseases that in the past were considered incurable or that were treated surgically with controversial risks and outcomes.

Gamma Knife means “gamma-ray scalpel“. The instrument used to “operate“, however, is ionizing radiation. “This method was devised in 1951 by the Swedish neurosurgeon Lars Leksell, who developed a collimation system of radioactive beams to reach very small and deep lesions of the central nervous system“, explains Dr. Antonello Ceddìa, Head of Neurosurgery of Anthea Hospital of Bari.

In addition to brain tumors, the following can also be treated with this method:

  • Cerebral arteriovenous malformations (AVMs)
  • Acoustic neuromas
  • Meningiomas
  • Metastasi
  • Pituitary adenomas
  • Craniopharyngiomas
  • Trigeminal neuralgia.

Lately, functional neurosurgery with Gamma Knife is also taking hold for the treatment of tremor in Parkinson’s disease or some forms of focal epilepsies (ie those caused by a brain lesion usually localized in a well-defined brain area)“, explains Dr. Antonello Ceddìa.

Gamma Knife is also used when drug therapies or repeated surgical interventions do not lead to the desired results.

A helmet, called a stereotaxic helmet, is applied to the patient, by means of which diagnostic tests (MRI, CT scans, angiographies) are performed to create images of the intracranial situation. These tests make it possible to visualize and establish the site of the lesion with extreme precision.

The Gamma Knife treatment is performed in a single session and the hospitalization, unless otherwise indicated by the doctor, takes only two nights. The procedure, on the other hand, lasts from 30 to 90 minutes. “The pain is very modest and is due solely to the injection of local anesthetic substances into the points where the helmet is positioned by means of four pins“, explains Luigi Lattanzi, neurosurgeon at the Anthea Hospital in Bari.

Anthea Hospital and Maria Cecilia Hospital have the state-of-the-art “Perfexion” model: compared to previous technologies, it has an even more direct and precise radiant action, up to 201 low-level radiation rays that converge at a precise point. Most treatments can be performed in a single session, facilitating the patient’s psychophysical recovery after therapy.

The Gamma Knife treatment involves the collaboration of medical specialists with different training. The team is made up of:

  • Radiotherapy Oncologist, who has the ultimate responsibility for choosing the most suitable treatment for each individual patient;
  • Physicist, responsible for the operation and safety of the equipment;
  • Neurosurgeon, who has the specific task of preparing the stereotaxic helmet, following the patient throughout the entire treatment pathway and, in collaboration with the Radiotherapy Oncologist and the Physicist, deciding the best radiotherapy treatment;
  • Dedicated nurse, who has the task of following the patient during his hospitalization.



Translated from an article written by our healthcare partner GVM Care & Research available at the following link. All rights reserved.


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