Gamma Knife Radiosurgery at NWH
Northern Westchester Hospital proudly brought Gamma Knife technology to the Hudson Valley in 2005, and is currently the only Gamma Knife Center between New York City and Syracuse. In 2013, Northern Westchester Hospital invested in the latest and most advanced Gamma Knife model available, the Gamma Knife Perfexion, to provide an even wider array of patients in our region with the benefits of this non-invasive treatment. To date, our expert Gamma Knife team has treated more than 700 patients with cyberknife technology in New York.
A Team Approach
If you are referred to The Gamma Knife Center at Northern Westchester Hospital (NWH), you will be evaluated by a team of specialists with extensive experience, including neurosurgeons, radiation oncologists, radiation physicists, neuroradiologists, oncologists, neurologists, nurses, and radiation therapists. We also consult with your referring physician, oncologist, neurologist, or other physicians. as needed. Candidates for the procedure are selected for treatment only after a thorough review of all prior records and imaging studies has been performed.
Who We Treat
Gamma Knife treatment is often the preferred treatment rather than conventional neurosurgery or radiation therapy, due to age, location of abnormality, or concurrent medical problems. In certain cases, Gamma Knife treatment may serve as a supplement to standard neurosurgical therapy, or as the preferred course of treatment when further traditional therapy is not recommended.
What is Gamma Knife Radiosurgery?
A Non-Invasive Alternative
Gamma Knife Radiosurgery is considered the "gold standard" of treatment for a broad spectrum of brain injuries and diseases. The Gamma Knife is not a knife at all—but a highly sophisticated, non-invasive device (cyberknife), with minimal side effects, that focuses high-energy gamma radiation on the affected area inside the brain.
Advantages of Gamma Knife Radiosurgery
- It is a single, non-invasive treatment that requires no incision
- It is performed under local anesthesia with mild sedation
- It eliminates risks of infection and adverse reactions to general anesthesia
- It is typically an outpatient procedure with fewer complications than traditional surgery
- It allows patients to leave the hospital within 24 hours, often without an overnight stay
- It only affects targeted tissue, sparing the surrounding brain
- It can be applied to a variety of brain diseases including tumors, blood vessel malformations, and some functional disorders
- It allows the patient and surgeon to communicate freely during the procedure, through both a video camera and an intercom
- It is approved by the FDA
- It can be used to treat inoperable diseases
- It can treat single and multiple brain metastases from a variety of primary cancers such as lung, breast, colon, kidney, prostate bladder and melanoma
- It allows patients to return to pretreatment activities within days, requiring little or no rehabilitative services
- It is reimbursed by most insurance payors, including Medicare
- More than 3,000 peer-review clinical articles support its use
- More than 700,000 people have undergone treatment worldwide, with an average of over 60,000 people a year.
Gamma Knife Perfexion Treatment Results
Over 700,000 patients in over 200 different facilities worldwide have been treated with the Gamma Knife. Following are treatment results for specific conditions:
- Metastatic brain tumors: Achieves a local control rate that generally exceeds 85% in any brain location. Essentially comparable to open surgery, gamma knife radiosurgery is performed without anesthesia, the risk of infection, bleeding or complications – and without a lengthy hospital stay and convalescence.
- Meningiomas: 93-98% of patients experience long-term tumor control; some decrease in size, while others simply exhibit no further growth. For tumors less than 3.5 cm, clinical data also supports that the control rate after Gamma Knife Perfexion is equivalent to that of after surgical resection of Simpson Grade 1 tumors, and control rates superior to Simpson grade 2 and 3-4 resections.
- Acoustic neuromas (vestibular schwannomas): Clinical research reports long-term tumor control rates (5-15 years) in 93-100% for patients with tumors less than 3cm. Pre-treatment hearing can generally be preserved in 60-90% of cases. For intracanalicular tumors, hearing preservation can range from 73-100%. Clinical data also supports that greater than 95% of patients have preserved facial nerve and trigeminal nerve function. Level two evidence supports that 91% of Gamma Knife radiosurgery patients have no functional deterioration after treatment versus 61% of microsurgery patients.
- Pituitary adenomas: Clinical research supports tumor control rates for both secretory and non-secretory tumors to be between 90-100%. For secretory tumors, research reports approximately 50-60% of cases will achieve endocrine control in 12-60 months. Gamma Knife surgery is especially beneficial for recurrent or residual disease following surgery.
- Vascular malformations: Complete obliteration of AVMs takes place in roughly 70-90% of patients during a period of 6 months to 6 years. Post treatment, the patient’s risk of rupture progressively declines until it fails to be visible on follow up imaging.
- Trigeminal neuralgia: Initial pain relief reported ranges from 78-94%. Long-term pain relief varies from 32-81% across various treatment centers. Level 2 clinical research shows Gamma Knife radiosurgery to have the lowest rate of morbidity or sensory/nerve dysfunction when compared to other treatment techniques. Research also supports that repeat treatment for patients who experience a relapse of pain (after initial treatment) can offer an equivalent rate of pain control. The treatment goal is reduction of or freedom from medications.