Friday, June 28, 2013
New Technology Raises the Bar For Gamma Knife
NEW TECHNOLOGY RAISES THE BAR FOR GAMMA KNIFE
(Elk Grove Village, IL) - To date more than 800,000 patients worldwide have undergone Leksell Gamma Knife surgery for brain tumors, vascular disorders, trigeminal neuralgia and acoustic neuroma. This fast, painless stereotactic radiosurgery, that requires no anesthesia or recovery, has shown superior clinical outcomes over the last 40 years. More than 2,500 peer-reviewed articles have been published regarding the effectiveness of Gamma Knife procedures, considered the gold standard in radiosurgery.
With pinpoint accuracy, the Gamma Knife can deliver a single high dose of radiation from multiple directions at intracranial and extracranial tumors and lesions, sparing vascular and neural structures outside the target area. Often requiring only one outpatient treatment, Gamma Knife procedures mean less physical strain on the patient, and less financial strain on the healthcare system.
On June 13, 2013, the Alexian Brothers Neurosciences Institute hosted a blessing and open house to showcase the new PERFEXION Gamma Knife® installed at the Illinois Gamma Knife Center on the campus of Alexian Brothers Medical Center. PERFEXION represents the latest generation in minimally invasive cranial radiosurgery. Elekta, PERFEXION’s manufacturer, reports “This new integrated system, with its revolutionary design, provides full cranial reach. [It] is built to deliver outstanding patient and staff comfort and better dosimetry performance than any other radiosurgical system.”
Since its opening in 2005, the Illinois Gamma Knife Center has treated approximately 1,500 patients. Patrick Sweeney, M.D., Radiation Oncologist, says that PERFEXION now offers two distinct advantages to patients and physicians over previous generations.
Illinois Gamma Knife team members gather during the dedication of the new PERFEXION Gamma Knife system. (L-R) Karen Mnichowicz, RN, Nurse Manager; Jacque Bursott, Administrative Assistant; Jagan Venkatesan, MS, Physicist, Diplomat; Evelyn Badran, RN, CNRN; Pat Sweeney MD, Co-Medical Director; Elsie Soberano, RN; George Bovis MD, Co-Medical Director; Mary Kay Romano, RN; and Matt White, Physicist.
First, the system enables greater access anywhere in the head, including the skull base and upper spine, allowing patients to lie comfortably for the procedure. Second, it allows for treatment of more than one target in the same session. “Fifty percent of our patients have been treated with the Gamma Knife for brain metastases,” says Dr. Sweeney. “Two thirds of those patients have multiple tumors. Before PERFEXION, we would have to take time to plan and treat each tumor individually.” According to Neurosurgeon George Bovis, M.D., there is “no limit to what can be treated in the brain,” using this system.
Diagnostic imaging, treatment planning and dose delivery are digitally integrated to allow for seamless information flow. When a patient arrives for the procedure, he/she is placed in a stereotactic head frame. Imaging is then performed and sent electronically to the treatment planning team. Gamma Knife uses 3-D planning to form the radiation dose to the exact size and shape of the affected area, allowing for full customization of treatment.
Once the plan is complete, the patient lies on the “couch”, the moveable table that holds the frame and the patient’s head motionless in a large metal cylinder-type helmet. Radiation then travels through 192 holes in the helmet sending the optimal radiation dose from cobalt-60 sources to the specified target.
Enhanced safety features mean that PERFEXION offers a radiological accuracy of .50 mm while the system confirms the treatment target 10 times per second. Dr. Bovis reports that 15 times less radiation is given to the rest of the body—the thyroid, chest and gonads. Radiation shielding is up to 100 times better than other radiological devices. As a result, the system is safe for use with children and women of childbearing age.
Compared to previous systems, PERFEXION reduces per patient time by up to two hours, and treatment planning is performed twice as fast. “Patients are generally very happy since it saves them from an open neurosurgical procedure and they can return to normal activity the next day,” says Dr. Sweeney.
“Many people being treated for cancer spend a great amount of time driving to and from the doctor for their appointments,” says Dr. Bovis. “With PERFEXION, we are 30% faster and can complete the procedure in one morning as compared to the 2-5 visits required for other treatments.” The procedure is covered by most insurance and often costs 25-30% less than traditional neurosurgery. Drs. Bovis and Sweeney have lectured nationally and internationally and are considered opinion leaders in Gamma Knife surgery. Other physicians travel to the Illinois Gamma Knife Center to receive training on the use of this technology. They have a proven record of accomplishment in treating metastatic tumors, vestibular neuromas, meningiomas and trigeminal neuralgia.
In addition to Drs. Bovis and Sweeney, the Center is home to a number of specially trained experts who perform Gamma Knife radiosurgery to address a variety of conditions. Physicians include neurosurgeons Bryan Bertoglio, Anthony DiGianfilippo, Shaun O’Leary, Szymon Sami Rosenblatt, John Ruge, Konstantin Slavin, and Sanjay Yadla, radiation oncologists Christy M. Kesserling and Ramji Rajendran, and neurotologists Robert A. Battista, Dennis Moore and Mark Wiet. Physicists Jagan Venkatesan, Matthew White, Anthony Brent and nurses Evelyn Badran, Laura Johnson, Karen, Mnichowicz, Mary Kay Romano and Elsie Soberano work with these physicians to deliver exceptional patient-centered multidisciplinary care.