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UPMC Presbyterian Opens Next-Generation Gamma Knife Suite


The latest gamma knife radiosurgical suite, now operational at UPMC Presbyterian, provides the most sophisticated care possible to patients with brain, cervical spine and head and neck tumors and other complex neurosurgical problems, say surgeons at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC). Gamma knife brain surgery involves no incisions but is a high dose of radiation delivered directly to a diseased area, thereby minimizing the risk of damage to healthy tissue. This is a multidisciplinary technology that relies on the training and experience of neurosurgeons, radiation oncologists and medical physicists.

In 1987, L. Dade Lunsford, M.D., distinguished professor of neurological surgery at the University of Pittsburgh and director, Center for Image-Guided Neurosurgery, UPMC Presbyterian, was the first to use the gamma knife clinically in North America. UPMC remains the world’s leader in radiosurgery experience, with more than 8,500 patients treated using three fully functional gamma knife units.

The new system, known as Leskell Gamma Knife Perfexion®, was designed and developed with input, recommendations and participation by Dr. Lunsford and Douglas Kondziolka, M.D., Peter J. Jannetta Professor of Neurological Surgery and Radiation Oncology, and co-director, Center for Image-Guided Neurosurgery, UPMC Presbyterian.

“We designed this next generation gamma knife for extended reach, enabling us to further refine and expand neurosurgical procedures in the brain, cervical spine and head and neck regions, as well as deep-seated blood vessel malformations and pain states,” said Dr. Lunsford. Robotic technologies and patient treatment and safety features allow neurosurgeons to treat multiple brain lesions both noninvasively and simultaneously – in a single procedure.

“At UPMC, our aim is to provide the finest care possible to patients with complex neurosurgical problems, using the most up-to-date technology. It was a natural decision to upgrade to the ultimate tool for noninvasive stereotactic radiosurgery,” said Amin Kassam, M.D., chair, department of neurological surgery.

The new system, one of only five in the U.S., is estimated to increase the numbers of patients who can benefit from gamma knife surgery by up to 40 percent, given its effectiveness in treating tumors of the skull base and cervical spine.


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