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January 23, 2007 > Breakthroughs in Non-Invasive Brain Surgery

Breakthroughs in Non-Invasive Brain Surgery

Advanced neurosurgery program coming to Washington Hospital this Spring

Imagine having brain surgery performed without making a single cut into the skull and being able to come home the very same day. This dream will soon be a reality as Washington Hospital becomes among the first facilities in the world, and the first community hospital in the country to house the most advanced neurosurgery system ever created for non-invasive treatment of brain disorders.

The Leksell Gamma Knife(r) Perfexion(tm) is a non-invasive radiosurgery treatment that delivers doses of focused radiation to reach even the deepest brain tumors, while sparing surrounding tissue. The Perfexion(tm) will offer one of the most advanced and proven technologies available for the non-invasive treatment of malignant and benign brain tumors, vascular malformations and movement disorders.

Washington Hospital's Gamma Knife program will be led by Sandeep Kunwar, M.D., and David Larson, M.D., Ph.D. Kunwar is an internationally known board-certified neurosurgeon and has led a very successful surgical practice specializing in gamma knife radiosurgery for several years. Larson is a leading radiation oncologist who has more than 25 years of experience treating patients with brain disorders. Kunwar and Larson have impressive reputations and have treated more than 3,000 patients using the Gamma Knife.

"Our goal is to develop a full service program that will serve as a model of what other facilities will want to follow," says Kunwar. "The level of physician expertise assembled to run the program and the Institute is unprecedented for a community hospital."

On Tuesday, January 30, Kunwar will present a free Health and Wellness seminar titled: "Breakthroughs in Non-Invasive Brain Surgery - What is Gamma Knife?" at Washington Hospital. Kunwar has a world class reputation for extensive research in advancing approaches for minimal access surgery of the brain and spine. In his presentation, Kunwar will discuss how this type of non-invasive surgery works and the treatment advantages it offers patients.

What is Gamma Knife surgery?
Despite its name, Gamma Knife surgery doesn't involve making surgical incisions. Gamma Knife treatment begins with a team of specialists including a neurosurgeon, a radiation oncologist and a medical physicist. This team of experts develops a treatment plan by creating an image of the patient's brain using computers and diagnostic imaging. This method of radiosurgery delivers extremely focused beams of cobalt radiation to precise targets in the brain - as many as 192 individual beams. Individually, the beams are too weak to damage healthy tissue but together, they converge to deliver treatment to a single point with accuracy of half a millimeter, or about 1/50th of an inch.
About the Leksell Gamma Knife Perfexion
The Leksell Gamma Knife(r) Perfexion(tm) is a new, highly advanced device that takes non-invasive brain surgery to the next level and provides a platform for the expansion of radiosurgery procedures in the brain, cervical spine and head and neck regions. According to Kunwar, a great advantage of the Perfexion is that it further minimizes any unnecessary body radiation dose compared with competing technologies.

"By decreasing the amount of radiation to the normal tissue and improving the overall accuracy of how the radiation is delivered, we'll be able to treat up to 30 percent more lesions just within the brain," he says. "Because the radiation is so focused, we'll be able to use the Perfexion to treat other forms of cancers and growths."
Benefits to the patient
Among its many benefits, Gamma Knife radiosurgery is minimally invasive, the risks of surgical complications are eliminated and patients experience virtually no discomfort. By performing these procedures on an outpatient basis, patients can go home in about half a day and return to their normal routine on the same day of treatment. In addition, radiosurgery is less expensive than conventional neurosurgery because it eliminates the need for lengthy hospitalization, medications and rehabilitation. Since the original technology was first used in 1965, nearly 500,000 Gamma Knife procedures have been performed worldwide with a 95 percent cure rate in certain indications.
Taylor McAdam Bell Neuroscience Institute
The Leksell Gamma Knife(r) Perfexion(tm) will be the cornerstone of the Taylor McAdam Bell Neurosciene Institute at Washington Hospital which is scheduled to open this coming Spring. The Institute will offer a wide-range of neuron-related programs including a Stroke Program, which will provide treatment for all aspects of stroke care; a Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery program that specializes in reconstructive spine surgery and Brain Tumor Surgery for both benign and malignant tumors.
Washington Hospital's Health and Wellness seminar titled: "Breakthroughs in Non-Invasive Brain Surgery, What is Gamma Knife?" will take place on Tuesday, January 30 from 1 to 2 p.m. The seminar will be held in the Conrad E. Anderson, M.D. Auditorium, Rooms A & B, in the Washington West Building located at 2500 Mowry Avenue in Fremont. For more information, or to register to attend, please call (800) 963-7070.

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