Treatments and Technology

Gamma Knife Radiosurgery


The Gamma Knife is a very precise and sophisticated tool used to treat both malignant and benign intracranial lesions and tumors. Gamma Knife radiosurgery is “surgery without a scalpel” and employs 192 thin radiation therapy beams functioning as a “virtual scalpel” to converge on and accurately treat small areas of the brain. There is no need for general anesthesia and no surgical incision when patients are treated with Gamma Knife radiosurgery. Gamma Knife radiosurgery is used to successfully treat conditions including brain metastasis, meningiomas, arteriovenous malformations, trigeminal neuralgia, pituitary adenomas, and acoustic neuromas.


Gamma Knife radiosurgery is jointly performed by a radiation oncologist and neurosurgeon. Gamma Knife radiosurgery involves the delivery of a single treatment of radiation therapy and is performed in one outpatient visit. Patients typically come to the Illinois Gamma Knife Center in the morning and have a stereotactic head frame placed under local anesthetic. The head frame is specially designed to very accurately localize intracranial areas in 3 planes (the X, Y, and Z pla
nes). Once the frame is placed, an MRI of the brain is performed and this MRI information is transferred to our treatment planning computers. A conformal treatment plan is designed to precisely treat necessary areas of the brain while sparing the rest of the brain from high doses of radiation therapy. Treatments typically take about 1-2 hours and most patients go home before lunch time.


Radiation Oncology Consultants (ROC), in collaboration with our surgical colleagues and the Alexian Brothers Medical Center and Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Cancer Center. The Gamma Knife Centers are staffed by a skilled team of radiation oncologists, surgeons, physicists and nurses who all have specialized training in the delivery of Gamma Knife radiosurgery (also called stereotactic radiosurgery). Our doctors have specialized training in Gamma Knife radiosurgery and have a lot of experience treating intracranial conditions using this novel technique.

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