Dec. 12, 2007 The most advanced noninvasive, radiosurgery tool for treating a variety of brain disorders--including tumors--is now being used by specialists at UCSF Medical Center. The new machine expands UCSF's ability to provide state-of-the-art, specialized care to patients.
Called the Leksell Gamma Knife Perfexion, the machine is the latest generation in gamma knife radiosurgery, a noninvasive technology that delivers a finely focused, high dose of radiation to a specific area of the brain. Its precision allows radiation to reach a particular target without damaging surrounding brain tissue, making it ideal for treating brain tumors. It is also effective for treating epilepsy, Parkinson's disease, trigeminal neuralgia (a nerve condition causing chronic pain) and abnormal blood vessel formations located deep in the brain.
Abnormalities measuring less than one inch in diameter--the size of a tiny pebble--can be treated with gamma knife radiosurgery.
"This machine allows us to distribute a highly effective dose of radiation to diseased tissue more quickly and accurately than ever before," says Mitchel Berger, MD, professor and chairman of the UCSF Department of Neurological Surgery and director of the UCSF Brain Tumor Research Center. "Patients can be treated on an outpatient basis, in only a couple of hours, with little or no complications or side effects. This is a great benefit for patients who have already endured so much due to their diagnosis."
The new machine has greater flexibility and reach than the previous model, assisting UCSF neurosurgeons in treating more areas of the head and now the neck. Doses of radiation can be delivered to multiple target areas in one session, avoiding the need to move the patient or adjust the machine. This further reduces the amount of time a patient has to undergo treatment and reduces discomfort. Radiation exposure to other parts of the body is extremely low, making it an excellent treatment option for children and women of child-bearing age.
Gamma knife surgery has become the world's most widely used radiosurgery treatment for brain disorders due to its extraordinary accuracy, reduction of excess radiation dose to the body and extensive history and clinical documentation. Unlike other systems designed to treat the whole body, Leksell Gamma Knife is specifically designed to optimize treatment to the head and neck.
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