New technology for brain tumors

Valerie SomervilleInside 640, Our Town Health

Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center, in collaboration with Thompson Cancer Survival Center, is proud to announce the installation of the latest stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) platform, the Leksell Gamma Knife Icon.

The Leksell Gamma Knife Icon is the sixth generation of Elekta’s Gamma Knife radiosurgery technique and gives the Fort Sanders Regional Gamma Knife Center at Thompson Cancer Survival Center expanded options for treating benign and malignant brain tumors and other neurological disorders.

“Since 2011, Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center has treated more than 1,400 patients with Gamma Knife,” said Keith Altshuler, president and chief administrative officer of Fort Sanders. “Ten years later, we are updating that technology with a system that will expand Gamma Knife to more patients, with greater efficacy and fewer side effects.”

Gamma Knife is used in outpatient procedures that treat a multitude of neurological disorders including brain tumors, pituitary tumors, trigeminal neuralgia, arteriovenous malformation (AVM), and other benign and malignant tumors.

Often referred to as “surgery without a knife,” Gamma Knife precisely delivers radiation to the targeted affected area, preserving healthy brain tissue and eliminating some of the risks of a traditional craniotomy, such as bleeding or brain damage. Many cancer patients with brain metastases in critical locations that cannot be safely reached surgically have benefited from Gamma Knife radiosurgery.

“Extensive advances in Gamma Knife technology now allows for more patients to be treated than even five to 10 years ago,” said David Hauge M.D., neurosurgeon and medical director of the Fort Sanders Regional Gamma Knife Center. “A team of neurosurgeons, radiation oncologists, medical physicists and specially trained nurses work together to provide safe, efficient, and seamless radiosurgical treatment in an outpatient setting. There’s no need for anesthesia, and this treatment doesn’t come with the risks of open brain surgery.

“Many of our cancer patients are able to continue to work and live independently, and most return to normal activities the day after the procedure.”

One of only two Gamma Knife facilities in the state, Fort Sanders Regional is the first hospital in Tennessee and one of just 10 providers in the southeastern United States to offer Gamma Knife Icon for patients. According to the Leksell Gamma Knife Society, more than 80,000 patients undergo Gamma Knife surgery each year.

Valerie Somerville is marketing manager for Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center

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