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Gamma Knife Radiosurgery

Leksell Gamma Knife Icon™ radiosurgery, available at NYU Langone’s Center for Advanced Radiosurgery, is the most established form of stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS), a dedicated and minimally invasive method of treatment for brain tumors, blood vessel malformations, and other brain disorders. It requires no surgical incision in order to reach the target area. 

How It Works

Gamma Knife is used on lesions and abnormalities in the brain. Gamma Knife radiosurgery is unlike any other form of SRS because it is used exclusively for the brain. 

Surgeons use MRI or other high-resolution brain imaging to create a three-dimensional picture of the targeted part of the brain. The Gamma Knife then delivers small beams of radiation that concentrate within the target. The radiation is delivered with a high degree of precision. 

Dr. Joshua Silverman and Dr. Douglas Kondziolka Review Images

Radiation oncologist Dr. Joshua Silverman and neurosurgeon Dr. Douglas Kondziolka review images.

The Gamma Knife has no moving parts for radiation delivery, which reduces the margin for mechanical error. 

The Gamma Knife Icon

The Gamma Knife Icon™ is the newest, most sophisticated version of SRS, both for the device and the software that powers radiation dose planning. The Icon™ system features advanced patient treatment and safety features, including a newly remastered, more flexible dose delivery system that allows physicians to administer doses to one or more targets in the brain while the patient is in the same treatment position. 

The team at the Center for Advanced Radiosurgery can provide noninvasive treatment to multiple brain lesions simultaneously in a single procedure.

Patient Benefits: Safety and Effectiveness

The Gamma Knife allows surgeons to perform brain surgery without opening the skull, and the affected tissue can be targeted with extreme precision, while sparing the surrounding healthy tissues. Because a surgical incision is not required, the risks associated with open brain surgery, including acute hemorrhage, spinal fluid leakage and infection, are reduced. 

Patients typically receive sedation and are able to communicate during treatment as well, thereby eliminating the risks associated with general anesthesia. As a result, patients who undergo Gamma Knife radiosurgery are less likely to experience complications that with conventional open brain surgery, and tend to report back with positive outcomes.

The procedure usually does not require an overnight stay, and the majority of patients are discharged home the same morning. While patients must come in early to register at the hospital, most are finished in time for lunch, and although individual patient outcomes may vary, patients can often resume their normal activities the day after treatment. 

In contrast, conventional open brain surgery typically requires hospitalization for several days or longer. By avoiding this hospital stay, radiosurgery also helps reduce the cost of treatment. 

Are There Alternative Treatment Options?

The alternatives to Gamma Knife radiosurgery include conventional brain surgery, radiation therapy, and other techniques of radiation delivery, such as proton therapy, or machines such as Cyberknife or modified linear accelerators. Gamma Knife is the most established, well-researched, and validated form of radiosurgery. 

To help you determine the best treatment for your tumor or condition, your neurosurgeon and radiation oncologist explain the options available to you. For instance, in the majority of cases, when intracranial radiosurgery is indicated, we believe Gamma Knife is the best choice. This belief is reflected in the general medical literature, and is also documented by our own published results.