Gamma Knife Icon - ACIBADEM Healthcare Group
Gamma Knife Icon

Gamma Knife Icon

Gamma Knife Icon is the sixth generation of Leksell Gamma Knife technology, which has evolved for more than 60 years. It is the most accurate, flexible, and safe of the Leksell Gamma Knife family.

What is Gamma Knife?

Gamma Knife is a stereotactic intracranial radiosurgery technique that treats brain tumors and other brain abnormalities as part of radiation therapy. In Gamma Knife radiosurgery, the targeted tissues receive a very high dose of radiation in a single session while the adjacent brain tissues are exposed to a negligible dose of radiation. This procedure aims to stop the growth of the tumor.

The Gamma Knife process

Treatment is planned according to the specific needs of individual patients, and this customized process is easy, fast, reliable, and safe. The Gamma Knife computer software reduces the treatment plan to a list of simple instructions to guide the gamma rays to the target.

The treatment begins by fitting the stereotactic frame to the patient’s head. This is easily done within minutes and requires only local anesthesia. Once the frame has been fitted, an imaging procedure suitable for the patient’s pathology (i.e., magnetic resonance imaging, computed tomography, or angiography) is performed. These studies create a highly detailed and precise map of the brain. The treatment is then planned with precision using a special computerized planning program. The treatment is fitted to cover the target with an accuracy of less than a millimeter while protecting the surrounding brain and nerve tissues. The treatment is typically administered over 30–90 minutes. The treatment time is longer for only a few medical conditions. While the treatment is administered, the patient peacefully rests on the treatment couch and listens to music. Following treatment, the frame is removed, and most patients are discharged from the hospital on the same day. Unlike most other surgical procedures, there is no need to return to the hospital after Gamma Knife treatment. Patients can resume their normal routine after the procedure.

What are the differences between Gamma Knife Icon and Gamma Knife Perfexion?

  • In the Icon version, the patient can be treated either with a frame or without a frame (mask)
  • Integrated stereotactic cone-beam computed tomography helps physicians to determine the stereotactic coordinates in three dimensions
  • Icon is the most sensitive radiosurgery device when compared with other radiosurgery devices

What are the advantages of Gamma Knife treatment?

Gamma Knife is a painless and bloodless treatment method for brain tumors and other brain abnormalities. The advantages of Gamma Knife treatment are as follows:

  • It can eliminate the need for open surgery for many types of brain tumors
  • It does not require general anesthesia
  • It does not require an operating theatre
  • There are no incisions on the scalp or head
  • Normal brain tissues are exposed to very little radiation
  • Hair does not have to be cut and does not fall out
  • Patients can return home or to their workplace on the day of treatment
  • There is no recovery period
  • It is a solution for patients who are unable to tolerate surgical procedures for reasons such as age or associated medical conditions.

Which diseases can be treated with Gamma Knife?

Benign brain tumors:

  • Vestibular schwannomas (formerly known as acoustic neuromas)
  • Meningiomas
  • Pituitary adenomas
  • Skull base tumors
  • Chordomas
  • All other intracranial schwannomas
  • Glomus jugulare tumors
  • Craniopharyngiomas
  • Hemangioblastomas
  • Tumors of the pineal region

Blood vessel anomalies:

  • Arteriovenous malformation
  • Cerebral cavernous malformations
  • Cavernomas
  • Dural arteriovenous fistulas

Malignant tumors:

  • Malignant melanoma
  • Uveal melanoma
  • Certain glial tumors
  • Hemangiopericytoma
  • Nasopharyngeal carcinomas

Functional diseases:

  • Trigeminal neuralgia

Movement disorders:

  • Tremors associated with Parkinson’s disease

What Is Different About the Gamma Knife Icon?

Gamma Knife radiosurgery is a groundbreaking healthcare technology for brain disorders. It uses high-energy beams to treat brain tumors and other brain diseases. It has changed treatment protocols for many brain tumor types. There are different radiation treatment machines for brain tumors like Cyberknife and MRIdian. However, Gamma Knife is the only technology that is used only for brain tumors. It was created and designed by neurosurgeons. Gamma Knife Icon is the most updated model of Gamma Knife machines. It offers some new advantages for neurosurgeons and patients:

  • In previous versions of the machine, all patients need a frame that is attached to the head with pins. It helps to stabilize the head for the treatment target in the brain. This frame uses in Gamma Knife Icon, too. But also in some cases, it is possible to treat patients without a frame (frameless treatment) in the Icon model. Instead of the frame, a personalize, non-invasive and relocatable thermoplastic head mask can be used during treatment sessions.
  • One of the most crucial differences between the new and old versions of Gamma Knife is adding a cone beam CT and an infrared-based high-definition motion management camera to the machine. Thus, the patient’s movements are tracked in real time. With these developments in the machine, it is possible to treat tumors in more than one fraction if it is needed. It is a new feature of Gamma Knife Icon. Because in previous models completing treatment in just one fraction is the only alternative. Therefore, treatment can be split into multiple fractions. It provides advantages to delivering radiation beams to the tumor with utmost accuracy and causes minimum damage risk to healthy tissues.

How Does Gamma Knife Icon Work?

Gamma Knife Icon offers uncomparable comfortability for patients when it is compared with routine neurosurgery operations. There is no need to stay in the hospital, get anesthesia during the treatment, or head shaving before the procedure.

Gamma Knife treatment has six steps: preparation, applying frame or mask, scan, treatment planning, treatment, and recovery. Thanks to CT on Gamma Knife Icon, patients could be scanned when they are in the machine. It provides to split the treatment into multiple days and helps to perform the treatment with a mask.

A session is completed in half a day, and during the procedure, the patient is awake. An expert neurosurgeon performs the treatment by sending beams to the tumor. During the procedure, the patient does not hear any machine sounds. After the treatment, the patient does not need to be hospitalized.  The patient observed for a while after the session is completed. Then he/she is discharged. After discharge, the patient does not need to take any additional medicines. If there is a medicine that he/she uses on routine, there is no need to stop it. Treatment is easy and painless. Complications such as bleeding and infection are very rare. The patient can return to his daily life after the session.

Is Gamma Knife Surgery Right for You?

Gamma Knife is one of the most valuable treatment options for brain diseases. Some brain tumors which are evaluated as risky and defined as inoperable have a chance to be treated with Gamma Knife. It may be the first choice for some brain tumors like vestibular schwannomas and meningiomas. With the Gamma Knife, these tumors can be completely treated without surgery. Otherwise, in some cases, it is thought to remove the tumor as much as possible and apply Gamma Knife to the remaining tumor. On the other hand, Gamma Knife cannot be appropriate for some brain tumors.

Gamma Knife can generally be applied to tumors smaller than 3 cm. Treatment is planned according to the characteristics of the tumor and whether Gamma Knife is beneficial in this tumor type. Except for brain tumors, Gamma Knife is used for different brain diseases like Brain AVM (arteriovenous malformation) and trigeminal neuralgia.

You may undergo Gamma Knife Icon radiosurgery:

  • A benign brain tumor (acoustic neuroma, meningioma, craniopharyngioma, pituitary adenoma, hemangioblastoma, glomus tumor)
  • A malign brain tumor (glioblastoma, brain metastases, gliomas, hemangiopericytoma, chondrosarcoma, nasopharyngeal carcinoma, pediatric brain tumors, and other malign tumors)
  • Trigeminal neuralgia
  • Brain AVM (arteriovenous malformation)
  • A Glioblastoma (GBM), an aggressive brain cancer
  • If a patient is too old for surgery or general health conditions are not appropriate for any surgery
  • If the tumor intertwined vital structures in the brain

Brain tumors which are small, round cells, have well-defined margins, without extensions