Northside Hospital Cancer Institute in October completed a reload of the radioactive material within its Gamma Knife® stereotactic radiosurgery unit.
Gamma Knife is a non-invasive alternative to traditional brain surgery. The technology is designed for treatment of malignant and benign brain tumors, vascular abnormalities and functional disorders such as trigeminal neuralgia. Despite the name, there’s no blade or knife. Rather, 192 precisely focused high-dose beams of radiation (cobalt-60) converge on selected areas deep within the brain, without a scalpel and without the usual risks of surgery or an incision, to treat the patient.
“Over the course of the useful lifespan of cobalt-60 the dose rate changes and treatment delivery times increase,” said Dr. Edmund Simon, co-medical director, Northside Hospital Cancer Institute Gamma Knife Program. “Replacing the cobalt sources can cut our patient treatment times by half.”
Northside introduced its Gamma Knife Program at Northside Hospital Forsyth in 2015. The Program has treated more than 800 patients and offers Elekta’s Leksell Gamma Knife Icon™, the latest advance in Gamma Knife radiosurgery. This is the first time the cobalt has been replaced since Northside introduced the Gamma Knife Program. The reload took place over a span of four weeks, during which time the Gamma Knife was offline; procedures resumed Nov. 2.