Leksell Gamma Knife® Radiosurgery
What is Gamma Knife radiosurgery?
Gamma Knife® radiosurgery replaces a surgeon's scalpel with a single dose of radiation. This is not a knife in the normal sense of the word. The physician makes no incision in your head. Instead, very precisely focused beams of radiation are directed to the treatment area of the brain. This procedure is simple, painless, and straight-forward.
With the addition of the Perfexion™, Penn State Hershey Medical Center welcomes the first significant advance in Gamma Knife technology in the past thirty years. Perfexion dramatically streamlines workflow and expands the treatable conditions compared to previous models of the Gamma Knife.
What are the benefits of Gamma Knife radiosurgery?
Since no incision is made, the risk of surgical complications is low. The patient's head does not have to be shaved and side effects are few. Treatment is much shorter than conventional surgery and causes only minor discomfort. Benefits with Perfexion include faster set-up and treatment delivery to multiple tumors in a single session, and the potential to treat lesions in areas not able to be reached by older models, including tumors in the sinuses, orbits, and upper cervical spine. Perfexion allows treatment of a wider range of targets faster and more efficiently than ever before. The radiosurgery system's unique radiation-focusing device ensures superior radiation delivery and accuracy while reducing the dose to unintended areas.
Also, the patient can leave the day of the surgery or stay overnight for observation, compared with several weeks for traditional surgery. The treatment is complete in one session and seldom takes more than an hour or two. The full effects of Gamma Knife surgery may not be seen for several months following treatment.
What diseases can be treated with Gamma Knife?
- Benign or malignant tumor
- Trigeminal neuralgia
- Certain vascular malformations (AVM)
- Acoustic neuromas
- Parkinson's disease
- Lesions causing epilepsy
Gamma Knife Radiosurgery Team
- Radiation oncologists
- Gamma Knife coordinator – assist with scheduling, insurance authorizations, prescription needs
To schedule a visit, please call 717-531-8807, option 4, or Toll-Free 800-243-1455.
- Akash Agarwal, M.D., Neurosurgeon
- Sandra J. Brettler, M.S.N., R.N., C.C.R.N., C.N.R.N., Nurse Coordinator
- Kevin Cockroft, M.D., M.Sc., F.A.C.S., F.A.H.A., Neurosurgeon
- Heath Mackley, M.D., Radiation Oncologist
- James McInerney, M.D., Neurosurgeon
- Michael Sather, M.D., Neurosurgeon
- Jonas M. Sheehan, M.D., F.A.A.N.S., F.A.C.S., Neurosurgeon
- Henry Wagner, M.D., Radiation Oncologist
How is the procedure billed?
The Gamma Knife coordinator will obtain preauthorization for procedures. For more information on Patient Financial Services, please click here. For information about insurances that we accept, please click here.
After meeting with the neurosurgeon and radiation oncologist, the Gamma Knife coordinator will contact you to schedule your procedure. A tour of the facility will be provided at one of your appointments with the physicians. Neuropsychological testing may be required in some instances; this will be discussed with you at your appointment.
Park in the south parking garage, and exit the garage to the South Annex (the door will be on your left immediately after exiting the elevator). Check in at the front desk at 6:00 a.m. unless otherwise scheduled by the Gamma Knife coordinator. Remember, you should have nothing to eat or drink after midnight, except for your medications. The only medications that should not be taken will be indicated by the Gamma Knife coordinator prior to your procedure. Also, please wear comfortable clothing with no metal ( i.e. no belts, jewelry other than wedding rings, metal objects in your pockets, change or credit cards). Rings, underwire bras, blue jeans, and grommets in shoes/sneakers are allowed.
You may bring music to listen to during your treatment. We can accommodate iPods or CDs. As there is limited room, only one to two family members can be with you at a time prior to your treatment. Please keep all valuables at home.
No, you will need a driver to come with you to take you home after your treatment. As you pull into the south parking garage, there are reserved parking spaces on the left hand side for gamma knife patients directly across from the elevator. Please use these for the day; however we request that you use only one space per patient. If you have other family coming for your treatment, they may park anywhere else in the garage.
Our Neuro-Oncology team is very active with Clinical Trials. Click here to view the list of current studies, as of January, 2012.