Gamma Knife Radiosurgery

Harper University Hospital was the first to bring this revolutionary, non-invasive brain surgery technology to Michigan. Today, the neurosurgeons and support staff at Harper are the most experienced in its use.

Gamma Knife® radiosurgery is a revolutionary, non-invasive technology that uses precisely targeted beams of radiation — instead of scalpel incisions — for brain surgery.

The innovative and effective procedure dissolves lesions, malformations and other brain disorders with little or no damage to the surrounding tissue. The procedure is often used to treat patients with deep brain tumors, malformations and other disorders that would be otherwise inaccessible.

By eliminating the need for cutting, surgical risks are reduced. As a result, Gamma Knife® radiosurgery patients experience less pain and enjoy accelerated recovery times. Most patients are back on their feet in hours and out of the hospital within a day. This highly efficient technology offers another important benefit: reduced costs for the patient and insurance provider.

When is Gamma Knife ® Used?

Harper University Hospital’s Neurosurgery Department uses Gamma Knife® radiosurgery to treat the following conditions:

  • Arteriovenous malformations (AVMs)
  • Benign brain tumors, such as:
  • Acoustic neuromas
  • Craniopharyngiomas
  • Meningiomas
  • Pituitary adenomas
  • Malignant brain tumors
  • Metastatic brain tumors
  • Trigeminal neuralgia (intractable facial pain)

Other disorders that are inaccessible through conventional neurosurgery

Gamma Knife® radiosurgery is particularly useful for patients whose advanced age or medical condition place them at a high risk for conventional neurosurgery. Other patients that may benefit from the Gamma Knife® include patients with disseminated carcinoma and patients with movement disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease.

How it Works

Using input from arteriograms, computerized tomography (CT), Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and other sources, the Gamma Knife’s sophisticated computer software targets abnormal brain tissue with sub-millimetric accuracy.

The physician then uses the Gamma Knife® to direct beams of gamma radiation from 201 different sources of cobalt 60 material to the exact site of the lesion or other disorder. Each low-dose gamma radiation beam passes harmlessly through the surrounding tissue. However, when all 201 beams converge with pinpoint accuracy, the targeted abnormality is destroyed.

What are the Benefits?

Patients who undergo Gamma Knife® radiosurgery:

  • Experience little or no pain
  • Maintain their normal appearance — their heads are not shaved prior to surgery and there is no scarring
  • Resume their normal lifestyle quickly, usually within 24 hours
  • Enjoy reduced costs due to dramatically shortened hospital stays

Physicians who refer patients to Harper for Gamma Knife® radiosurgery:

  • Achieve improved patient outcomes
  • Reduce complications from general anesthesia and traditional surgery
  • Are able to treat brain tumors, AVMs and other deep-seated disorders that were previously surgically inaccessible