Gamma Knife surgery is recognized worldwide as the preferred treatment for certain types of brain surgery. Despite its name and scalpel-like precision, the Gamma Knife is a painless and non-invasive radiation device that delivers focused and highly accurate beams of radiation to the area of the brain requiring treatment. This safe and effective procedure offers new hope to more than 35,000 cancer and neurological patients a year as an alternative to conventional brain surgery.

The Leksell Gamma Knife housed at the Chesapeake Regional, Riverside and University of Virginia Radiosurgery Center is one of the most advanced forms of stereotactic radiosurgery currently being used for brain surgery including treatment of malignant and benign brain tumors as well as neurological disorders. Stereotactic refers to the use of an external, three-dimensional frame fixed directly to the patient or the use of image guidance technology.

Conditions treated

  • Metastatic brain tumors
  • Benign and malignant brain tumors and lesions
  • Arteriovascular malformations
  • Certain functional disorders
  • Trigeminal neuralgia

How the Gamma Knife works

Click to Enlarge Gamma Knife illustrationRadiation coming from 192 separate sources is directed to a specific target. Highly sophisticated computer software is used to determine the size, location and shape of the area to be treated. Only at the point where all 192 beams cross is enough radiation delivered to affect the diseased tissue, while sparing surrounding tissue.

Gamma Knife™ surgery at the Chesapeake Regional, Riverside and University of Virginia Radiosurgery Center involves a team of medical experts from neurosurgery, radiation oncology and radiation physics.

Benefits of Gamma Knife treatment

  • Although the treatment area where the beams converge receives a very high dose of radiation each of the individual beams has low intensity so there is minimal risk to nearby tissue
  • The absence of an incision eliminates the risk of bleeding and infection
  • Patients experience minimal discomfort during and after the procedure
  • Hospitalization is short – Gamma Knife procedures can be performed on an outpatient basis in a single session

Most important of all, the Gamma Knife offers hope to patients who are considered untreatable or at very high risk for conventional neurosurgery.