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Gamma Knife Surgery

Gamma Knife Surgery to Treat Neurological such as Brain Tumours

Australia's first Gamma Knife

Gamma Knife surgery is a revolutionary tool that treats neurological conditions, such as brain tumours, without the need for invasive surgery.

The neurosurgical team at Macquarie Neurosurgery were the first Australian surgeons to use this tool, giving their patients the opportunity to access this cutting-edge treatment without having to travel overseas.

The highly skilled team have vast experience in the treatment and ongoing management of complex and niche neurological conditions.

Macquarie Neurosurgery’s specialists work with medical and radiation oncologists to provide a cutting-edge, cost-effective stereotactic radiosurgical service for patients.

What is Gamma Knife surgery?

Gamma Knife surgery is a form of stereotactic radiosurgery used to treat brain tumours and other neurological conditions. Stereotactic radiosurgery is a term applied to focussed, precise high doses of radiation delivered in a single setting.

The Gamma Knife was created in 1968 by Swedish neurosurgeon, Lars Leksell, who envisioned a treatment option that could reduce complications associated with brain operations. The technique has been used by leading neurosurgeons around the world for more than 40 years.

What conditions does Gamma Knife surgery treat?

The surgical team at Macquarie Neurosurgery use the Gamma Knife tool in the treatment of the following conditions:

  • Metastases - secondary brain tumours

  • Acoustic neuromas - benign tumours which arise on the hearing nerve inside the ear

  • Complicated meningiomas -  benign tumours which from the lining inside the skull and are difficult to remove with surgical operations, due to the proximity of critical nerves

  • Arteriovenous malformations - developmental tangles of blood vessels which have a propensity for bleeding resulting in neurological deficits or death

  • Tigeminal neuralgia -  lancinating facial pain in one or more trigeminal nerve distributions
  • Pituitary Adenoma
  • Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM)
  • Glomus Jugulare Tumours

Gamma Knife surgery can also treat certain other rare forms of cerebral disease.

Much less invasive than traditional surgery

Because Gamma Knife surgery is a non-invasive treatment option, it reduces potential risks and complications associated with traditional brain surgery.

The treatment is performed in a single session in one day - and patients can return home after their treatment has been completed.

As there’s no need to operate, patients don’t experience any external trauma. Gamma Knife treatment is performed without needing to shave the patient’s head.

Extremely precise

The Gamma Knife delivers 192 low dose beams of radiation to a tumour or lesion, which receives a very high dose of radiation as a result. Individually, the beams barely impact the brain tissue they pass through.

When compared with traditional brain surgery, Gamma Knife surgery results in less damage to healthy surrounding tissues because the treatment is very precise and targeted with micron accuracy.

Fewer risks than traditional surgery

The more serious risks associated with traditional brain surgery can include the following:

  • Significant disability

  • The need for additional treatments if the surgery was only partially or not at all successful

  • Incomplete removal of the tumour or lesion, resulting in a residual tumour requirement treatment

Because Gamma Knife surgery doesn’t involve operating or whole brain radiation, such risks are significantly reduced. 

Approximately 20% of people who have some form of cancer will develop brain metastases (secondary tumours). In many of these cases, whole brain radiation is the only treatment option - and it isn’t necessarily effective because the dose is limited to what can be tolerated by the brain.

During Gamma Knife treatment, neurosurgeons are able to give a high dose of radiotherapy to individual legions and spots. This focused procedure allows the surgeons to treat as much of the brain as possible - without being limited by what the brain tolerates.

Rare and niche treatment

Macquarie Neurosurgery’s medical team are able to use Gamma Knife surgery to treat rare and niche conditions that can’t be treated with other forms of surgery and radiotherapy.

Gamma Knife surgery can also be used in patients who have tumours that are difficult to remove with traditional surgery. Acoustic neuromas, for example, are located on or near critical nerves, making operating challenging. Gamma Knife can also treat lesions which may otherwise be fatal if they can’t be operated on at all.

Gamma Knife multi-disciplinary team

The neurosurgeons at Macquarie Neurosurgery work together with radiation oncologists, medical oncologists and, in certain cases, ENT surgeons - all of whom form the practice’s Gamma Knife multidisciplinary team.

This team meet regularly to discuss each patient’s case as well as the optimal treatment and management - which, in cases involving Gamma Knife surgery, often involves medical and radiation oncology as well as neurosurgery.

Constant learning

The specialists of Macquarie Neurosurgery focus not only on excellent clinical care but also on educating future neurosurgeons.

They regularly participate in neurosurgical research and are committed to transferring the leading procedures and innovations to all patients.

Macquarie Neurosurgery’s alliance with Macquarie University and Macquarie University Hospital allows for the advancement of all areas of neurosurgery.

For more information on the Gamma Knife visit the Macquarie University Hospital Gamma Knife page. 

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GammaKnife surgery and Dr John Fuller were recently featured on 7 News in a story about what GammaKnife surgery is and the types of conditions it can treat. Miracle machine revolutionises brain surgery.