Growing Affiliation of Riverside and University of Virginia Health System Will Bring “Knifeless Surgery” to Peninsula Patients and New Surgical Expertise

Newport News, Va. – The State Health Commissioner has issued a Certificate of Public Need to Riverside Regional Medical Center and the University of Virginia Health System to bring some of the world’s most advanced technology to the Eastern Virginia.

The Charlottesville-based University of Virginia Health System and Riverside will bring the technologies of Gamma Knife® surgery to Riverside Regional Medical Center’s campus. These plans complement Riverside’s redesign construction project that began in 2001.

The Gamma Knife® technology will be a part of a planned sterotactic head and body radiosurgery facility which would be jointly owned by Riverside and University of Virginia Medical Center.

The new technology will enable many patients to have less invasive surgery, avoiding long hospital stays and the possible complications from difficult surgical procedures.

Gamma KnifeConsidered to be one of the most advanced neurosurgical tools available, the Gamma Knife® allows a surgeon to perform brain surgery without a scapel or without actually entering the skull. This way there is less damage to healthy tissue of the brain and more function can be preserved.

This Gamma Knife® approach to less-invasive surgery uses 201 highly focused beams of Cobalt 60 to produce biological effects on tissues inside the skull. The treatment is typically done in a single sitting and therefore has the benefit of much shorter hospital stays and side effects.

The University of Virginia Health System is one of the leading international authorities on radiosurgery. When U. Va. obtained its first Gamma Knife® in 1989, it was the fifth in the world and the second in the United States. Nearly 5,000 Gamma Knife® procedures have been performed at U.Va. There are now over 180 units around the world.

In addition to the Gamma Knife® for intracranial treatment of some brain diseases, the joint venture Radiosurgery Center will include another type of stereotactic technology for use on extra-cranial body sites such as the base of the skull, spine, neck, chest, breasts, lung, liver, pancreas, and prostate.

Like the Gamma Knife®, the extra-cranial radiosurgery technique is similar and the treatment completed in 3 – 5 sessions.

There are no radiosurgery centers in Virginia that provide both intra and extra-cranial capabilities and Riverside’s will be the first.

Dr. Ladislau Steiner, Alumni Professor of Neurosurgery and Radiology at the University of Virginia and Director of the Gamma Knife Center at U.Va. will also become the (visiting) Medical Director of Riverside’s Gamma Knife Center. Dr. Steiner was awarded the 2003 Gold Medal of Honor from the World Federation of Neurosurgical Societies for lifetime contributions to neurosurgery practice and teaching and is a widely recognized pioneer of radiosurgery applications. He was involved in the development of the Gamma Knife®.

Dr. James E. Lesnick, Hampton Roads Neurosurgery and Spine Center, will be the Associate Medical Director of the radiosurgery center.

The University of Virginia Medical Center has been recognized by US News and World Report, Best Doctors in America and other organizations as one of the finest medical institutions in the country. The U.Va. School of Medicine is making discoveries resulting in new and better therapies, especially in the areas of cancer, cardiovascular disease, neuro-degenerative disease and vaccine development.

Published: December 13, 2004