UPMC Celebrates 16,000th Gamma Knife Treatment

By: Taylor Andres

The Center for Image-Guided Neurosurgery at UPMC is celebrating the completion of its 16,000th Gamma Knife treatment — a procedure that has helped thousands of patients with benign or malignant tumors, vascular malformations, pain or other functional problems of the brain.

“This procedure has been effective for so many patients over the years — many with conditions that were often thought inoperable before the Gamma Knife was developed,” said L. Dade Lunsford, M.D., director of the Center for Image-Guided Neurosurgery and the Residency Training Program at UPMC.

Gamma Knife treatments are non-invasive, computer-driven and bloodless. Rather than targeting a large area with radiation therapy, the Gamma Knife uses stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) — a guiding technology that focuses beams of radiation and allows surgeons to hit precise, specific areas while leaving the surrounding healthy tissue intact.

UPMC installed the first North American Gamma Knife in 1987 and has periodically added newer models. Six gamma knifes are in use at UPMC — the most recent being introduced in 2016 when UPMC became the first hospital system in the region and the third medical center in the U.S. to treat patients with the newest generation ICON Gamma Knife.

The Center for Image-Guided Neurosurgery at UPMC is the nation’s leading provider of Gamma Knife procedures and serves as a global training center for neurosurgeons, radiation oncologists and medical physicists.

For further information on Gamma Knife procedures, visit the website for Center for Image-Guided Neurosurgery at UPMC.