Five benefits of the Gamma Knife Icon

The Gamma Knife Icon is a premier tool to efficiently and safely deliver stereotactic radiosurgery for malignant and benign brain tumors, and other conditions such as trigeminal neuralgia and arteriovenous malformations.

Precision is critical in radiation medicine. As technology has improved, so have the methods to treating various tumors.

The Gamma Knife Icon is one of the most important advances in radiation oncology due to its noninvasive capabilities for stereotactic radiosurgery. Northwell Health is the only health system on Long Island using the Gamma Knife Icon, pairing the expertise of its radiation medicine and neurosurgery teams together to maximize the quality of treatment. Its benefits include:

1. Comfort

The Gamma Knife Icon allows several types of procedures, including framed and frameless radiosurgery. Older technologies required you to have a stereotactic frame placed on your head, which was uncomfortable and, for some patients, a major deterrent to having radiosurgery. Frameless cases have the ability to treat more complex targets and make it easier to re-treat patients with recurring brain metastases.

2. Ability to fractionate treatments

Stereotactic radiosurgery used to mean the treatment had to be done in one session. The Gamma Knife Icon allows clinicians to break treatments up across several days. This provides more individualized care, maximizes flexibility and improves safety without sacrificing the potency of the treatment.

3. Increased flexibility

The Gamma Knife Icon allows patients who have had prior conventional brain surgery to be treated with stereotactic radiosurgery with much greater ease. There is no concern that placing the invasive stereotactic frame will cause brain injury because areas of prior surgery were not avoided.

4. Includes a CT scan as part of the system

Having access to computed tomography (CT) technology increases accuracy. Clinicians can utilize the CT scan prior to the procedure to ensure patients are positioned accurately, which ultimately improves function, precision and safety.

5. Speaking of safety

The Gamma Knife Icon includes several other safety features. Chief among them is the infrared tracking system that ensures lack of patient movement during stereotactic radiosurgery. If a patient moves more than 1.5 mm during treatment, the Gamma Knife Icon automatically shuts off until accuracy can be re-verified, allowing for radiosurgery to resume.

Michael Schulder, MD, is vice chair of neurosurgery at North Shore University Hospital and Long Island Jewish Medical Center. Among his specialties are brain tumors, trigeminal neuralgia, acoustic neuromas, movement disorders and functional neurosurgery, radiosurgery and sterotactic radiosurgery. He is also a professor at the Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell.

Northwell is the only health care organization on Long Island to utilize the Gamma Knife Icon.