Upgraded Gamma Knife at The Jewish Hospital Expands Life-Saving Treatment to Greater Numbers of Brain Tumor Patients

More brain tumor patients than ever before will benefit from life-saving radiosurgery, thanks to upgraded Gamma Knife® technology at The Jewish Hospital – Mercy Health.

Mercy Health - Cincinnati, which provides advanced, quality, compassionate care in your neighborhood, announced the upgrade to the Gamma Knife® Icon™ today. The Icon allows The Jewish Hospital brain tumor team to treat tumors of any shape, size, location and number with ultra-high precision while delivering lower toxicity to normal tissue than any competing technology.

The Gamma Knife upgrade provides an option to fixate the patient during treatment with a non-invasive mask, enabling doctors to treat larger tumors or greater numbers of metastatic brain tumors in five separate "fractionated" sessions. Delivering a fraction of the total radiation dose over a period of days allows normal cells time to repair themselves between treatments and may reduce side effects.

Patients with smaller tumors or a small number of tumors continue to be immobilized with a headframe and are treated with one high dose in a single session.

Above, the Gamma Knife® upgrade provides an option to fixate the patient during treatment with a non-invasive mask

"The ICON expands our capabilities and allows Gamma Knife to be a lifesaving technology for more brain tumor patients," says Ronald Warnick, MD, Co-Director of the Gamma Knife Center at The Jewish Hospital and a neurosurgeon with Mayfield Brain & Spine. "If we have a patient with a 3-centimeter tumor – or more than a dozen metastatic tumors – we use the mask and divide the treatment into 5 daily doses. Previously, any patient with a tumor larger than 3 centimeters was not a candidate for Gamma Knife because we could not treat a tumor that large in one dose without causing harm."

Dr. Warnick estimates that 75 percent of procedures with the Gamma Knife Icon involve a single session, while 25 percent involve five fractionated sessions. He adds that frameless treatments are as effective as frame-based treatments, "delivering a high therapeutic dose of radiation with maximum precision."

"In over four years of operation, the Gamma Knife® team at The Jewish Hospital has treated 750 patients for a variety of brain tumors and other neurological conditions and vascular disorders," said Pat Davis-Hagens, Mercy Health Central Market President and CEO of The Jewish Hospital. "While The Jewish Hospital is the only health facility serving patients with Gamma Knife technology in Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky, the Gamma Knife® is also a national and international resource. Patients have traveled to The Jewish Hospital for treatment from as far west as Montana and as far south as St. Croix."

Gamma Knife® surgery uses 192 beams of radiation that intersect at a single point, with an accuracy of .3 millimeters. A single, frame-based Gamma Knife® procedure lasts one to three hours. Fractionated, mask-based procedures last 15 to 30 minutes per session over the course of five days, depending on the size and number of tumors. All patients are able to go home the same day they are treated.

The Gamma Knife® team includes neurosurgeons, radiation oncologists, medical physicists, and critical care nurses who create the patient's treatment plan and perform the procedure.

Together, they have treated patients with:

  • Brain metastases, cancer that has spread to the brain from elsewhere in the body
  • Trigeminal neuralgia, a painful inflammation of the nerve responsible for most facial sensation
  • Benign brain tumors, including meningiomas, acoustic neuromas, and pituitary adenomas
  • Glioblastoma (GBM), the most common and most aggressive brain cancer
  • Arteriovenous malformation, an abnormal tangle of arteries and veins that disrupts normal blood flow in the brain

Because Gamma Knife procedures are incision-free, patients benefit from faster recovery times as well as a reduced risk of hemorrhage and infection, which are associated with conventional surgery.

More than 30 years of clinical studies documented in more than 2,500 published medical papers reveal the effectiveness of Gamma Knife surgery. More than 50,000 patients are treated with Gamma Knife each year at the more than 250 systems in operation worldwide.

Mayfield Brain & Spine is the full-service patient care provider of the Mayfield Clinic, one of the nation's leading physician organizations for neurosurgical treatment, education, and research. With more than 20 specialists in neurosurgery, interventional neuroradiology, physical medicine and rehabilitation, pain management, and physical therapy, Mayfield Brain & Spine treats 20,000 patients from 35 states and 13 countries in a typical year. Mayfield physicians specialize in the treatment of back and neck pain, sciatica, Parkinson's disease, essential tremor, NPH, epilepsy, brain and spinal tumors, stroke, moyamoya, brain aneurysms, Chiari malformation, scoliosis, kyphosis, facial pain, facial twitch, trauma, concussion, spinal cord injury, and carpal tunnel. As leading innovators in their field, Mayfield physicians have pioneered surgical procedures and instrumentation that have revolutionized the medical art of neurosurgery for spinal diseases and disorders, brain tumors, and neurovascular diseases and disorders.