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The Penn Gamma Knife® Center at Pennsylvania Hospital

Gamma Knife radiosurgery is one of the most precise, powerful, and proven treatments for brain disorders. It's a preferred treatment for benign or malignant brain tumors, blood vessel malformations, skull base tumors, and dysfunctions such as trigeminal neuralgia – a painful condition of the facial nerves.

The Gamma Knife Perfexion™ unit is a highly advanced machine that delivers a powerful dose of radiation to a precise target in the brain. Patients experience little or no discomfort during the procedure, usually go home the same day, and are generally able to resume normal activities almost immediately.

Gamma Knife radiosurgery offers many other advantages over traditional brain surgery, including the following:

It's precise: Before the Gamma Knife procedure, a team of physicians creates detailed maps of the patient's brain, precisely pinpointing the tumor or malformation. During the procedure, a focused, “custom-designed” dose of radiation targets only the diseased tissue, leaving the surrounding healthy tissue intact.

It's safe: Gamma Knife radiosurgery has a 30-year track record and has been used successfully to treat more than 300,000 patients worldwide. Patients generally require only local anesthesia and mild sedation, making the procedure especially beneficial for patients who may not be able to tolerate general anesthesia because of heart disease or other conditions. Because there are no incisions, there's no risk of infection, bleeding, and other possible complications that come with cutting into the skull and exposing the brain.

It's effective: Patients generally need only one treatment to get results, which occur gradually over a few months. In most cases, the radiation stops the growth of the tumor or malformation, and over time, the diseased tissue shrinks and may even disappear. The treatment is especially effective for brain metastases that have spread from other areas of the body, such as the lung or breast. It also offers new hope to patients with deep-seated brain lesions or skull base tumors once considered inoperable.

It's advanced: Pennsylvania Hospital offers the most technologically advanced Gamma Knife unit available: Gamma Knife Perfexion. The Perfexion unit is robotically controlled, which allows our surgeons to deliver radiation more precisely and safely than ever before. Compared with earlier Gamma Knife versions, Perfexion offers an expanded reach for treatment of metastasis anywhere in the brain and can also treat multiple locations in a single session. And it features enhanced communication capabilities – a built-in audio and video system allows physicians to see and talk to patients, and patients to talk to physicians – throughout the treatment.

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Gamma Knife and Leksell Gamma Knife are U.S. federally registered trademarks of Elekta Instrument S.A., Geneva, Switzerland. Photo credits: Susan Pardys, Elekta, Inc.

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