GAMMA KNIFE: Surgery Without The Knife, Saving More Lives

An NRC (nuclear regulatory commission)
diagram of how GAMMA KNIFE works to reach its target cells.
Ailments in the brain is probably the most complicated and the most risky surgical procedure foe the human body. Brain tumors would be the worst nightmare in reality for anyone. And according to statistics, the Philippines is second to to most number of Brain cancer cases in South East Asia. And mostly, tumors are lately diagnosed which is either in its critical stages and removal would be the only option for survival.

However, to remove these tumors open surgery is the only option. However ELEKTA AB, a company from Sweden have came up with the LEKSELL GAMMA KNIFE, by Dr. Lars Leksell, of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholma,   a treatment that uses high-intensity radiation that is coordinately concentrated to the target volume, destroying the tumor cells from the inside. GAMMA KNIFE usually contains 201 colbalt-60 sources with approximately 30 curies passed to a specially designed helmet fixed to the skull, this give precision in targeting the cells without affecting the other normal cells.

You may think that this treatment would only be available in industrialized countries but surprizingly we have this facility available here in the Philippines exclusively at the Cardinal Santos Memorial Medical Center. It was established in 1998 to provide the Filipino patient access to neurosurgical technology that was difficult to access. It was created to become a center of excellence for Stereotactic Neurosurgery and Radiosurgery.

For its facility, it is headed by highly trained medical professionals and with its noninvasive procedure, it guarantees quick recovery time and high performance that leads patients to recovery faster.

GAMMA KNIFE facility found in Cardinal Santos Medical Center, one of the country's top hospitals
Here is also a video from the the  Gamma Knife website to show us how this modern marvel works.
Quick recovery time

The Head Frame
Gamma Knife minimizes the possibility of developing complications. Following the patient’s admission, a stereotactic frame is attached to the patient’s head, then, neuroimaging such as MRI, CT Scan or cerebral angiography is performed. A marker on the stereotactic frame allows the Gamma Knife team to localize the tumor or vascular malformation with exact precision on a state of the art computer work station. When the plan is complete, actual treatment will follow which usually last a single day.

Specially designed helmet
“Compared to conventional open surgery, Gamma Knife allows the patients to return to his daily activities quickly and cost effectively. Because the Gamma Knife requires no incisions, and in most cases requires local anesthesia, many of the risk associated with conventional surgery such as infection, hemorrhage, adverse reaction to anesthesia and death are actually eliminated.

The procedure is accomplished within a very brief time frame. It is usually performed as an out patient basis with no associated convalescence. Most patients resume their normal activities after discharge from the center.

Safer and more effective
But more than quick recovery time, what is being commended by doctors and Gamma Knife patients alike is the accuracy with which Gamma Knife treats a brain disorder. In fact, there is no other procedure that can claim to have greater acceptance among the world’s leading hospitals and medical practitioners when it comes to the non-invasive treatment of brain disorders than Gamma Knife.
Here, no scalpels are required and no blood is shed. Patients undergoing the Gamma Knife procedure will have their brain disorders treated, instead, through the delivery of a high single dose of radiation to that area that is affected. That makes it safer as surrounding tissues will not be affected during or after the procedure.

Patients whose lives have been changed after a Gamma Knife treatment also number in hundreds of thousands around the world. The technology involved in this procedure ensures its precision in treating a brain disorder. It has been proven to be one of the most successful radiosurgery weapons in the fight against brain disorders such as Arteriovenous malformation, benign intracranial tumors including acoustic neuromas, meningiomas, pituitary adenomas, craniopharyngiomas, pineal tumors, malignant tumors such as metastatic carcinoma and nasopharyngeal carcinoma.

Other candidates for Gamma Knife Radiosurgery include patients with residual lesions left unresected by previous open neurosurgical procedure, patients at high risk for surgical complications due to age or underlying medical problems, and patient who refuse craniotomy. This is why it is preferred by the experts. Morbidity is low and mortality is none.

Since its clinical start-up in 1998, the Philippine Gamma Knife Center has performed over 1700 radiosurgical and open stereotactic procedures. The safety and effectiveness of the Gamma Knife procedure is ensured by a multi disciplinary team of medical professionals which are all trained in Stockholm, Sweden.
The team is composed of Neurosurgeons, headed by Dr. Vesagas who currently sits on the Board of Directors of the Asian Leksell Gamma Knife Society, Radiation Oncologist, Medical Physicist, Anesthesiologist and Neurosurgical Nurse with years of experience behind them. Averaging 130 cases a year, the Stereotactic Neurosurgery team at the Philippine Gamma Knife Center is the most experienced in the country, bar none.

With these innovation and the care of our Pinoy medical professionals, we may not need to go abroad to undergo this treatment which saves a lot of lives with less the risks but better success and recovery. 

Need to know more about how Gamma Knife can help you? Just visit the PGKC at the Cardinal Santos Medical Center or visit their website at or call 7259254 ; 7237575.


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