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August 21, 2007 > Treating Brain Tumor Patients Non-Invasively

Treating Brain Tumor Patients Non-Invasively

Washington Hospital Uses a Breakthrough Technology to Remove Brain Tumors without a Single Incision

This past summer, Washington Hospital became the first hospital outside of Europe to treat patients using the new Leksell Gamma Knife(r) Perfexion(tm), the most advanced non-invasive device for the treatment of brain disorders. The Gamma Knife is a treatment device that delivers doses of focused radiation without making a single cut to reach even the deepest brain tumors while sparing surrounding tissue. The device can also treat additional disorders, such as brain metastases, vascular malformations, trigeminal neuralgia, epilepsy and Parkinson's disease.

Susan LaRochelle, 52, the first patient to be treated, was recently diagnosed with lung cancer. At the same time, Susan learned that her cancer had also spread to her brain. Because the Gamma Knife procedure is performed on an outpatient basis, Susan was able to return home in just a few hours and can continue receiving chemotherapy treatments for her lung cancer.

"With the new Gamma Knife Perfexion, Susan's tumors can be removed without disrupting her chemotherapy, allowing us to continue to treat her primary cancer and potentially reduce its spread to other parts of her body," said David Larson, M.D., Ph.D., F.A.C.R., radiation oncologist and co-director of the Gamma Knife program at Washington Hospital. "With traditional whole brain radiation, the combination of treatments can result in unwanted toxicity in the body, and Susan would have had to suspend her chemotherapy treatments for her lung cancer for six weeks."

More than 192 radiation beams are focused through the Gamma Knife Perfexion's portals, converging on the target with a level of accuracy better than .3mm, or the thickness of a strand of hair, leaving nearby healthy tissue undamaged. Cumulative radiation is high; however, each individual beam has low intensity, so tissue it passes through on the way to the target is not affected.

Taylor McAdam Bell Neuroscience Institute
The new Gamma Knife Perfexion is the cornerstone of the Taylor McAdam Bell Neuroscience Institute. The Institute offers a wide range of neurology and neurosurgery-related programs, including a Stroke Program, providing treatment for all aspects of stroke care; Brain Tumor Surgery for both benign and malignant tumors; and a Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery program that specializes in reconstructive spine surgery. To learn more about these programs, visit, click on "Services & Programs" and select "Taylor McAdam Bell Neuroscience Institute" from the drop-down menu or call toll free: (888) PERFEXION (737-3394).

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