Earlier this fall, Archbold began installation of its new Gamma Knife Perfexion, technology that has been referred to as the “gold standard” treatment for non-invasive radiosurgery of the brain. On October 5th, physicians treated the first patients using the brand new technology—the latest and most precise radiosurgery technology to hit the market, and the only one if its kind in South Georgia and North Florida’s Big Bend Region.
And Archbold physicians say the advantages of the new equipment were clear when they treated patients the first time with the Perfexion technology.
Imogene McCue was one of the first patients treated with the Perfexion.
“I was having problems seeing when I went for the vision test to have my driver’s license renewed,” said McCue. “I followed up with my ophthalmologist who referred me for an MRI. That’s when I was referred to neurosurgeon Dr. Craig Fredericks who recommended the Gamma Knife.”
“We determined Ms. McCue had a suprasellar cistern meningioma, a benign tumor that was inoperable due to both location and patient age,” said Dr. Fredericks.
External radiation was really her only option. And considering where her tumor was, Perfexion was the best option.
Gamma Knife Perfexion is used to treat disorders of the brain including functional disorders, malignant and benign brain tumors and vascular disorders. The system precisely targets even the smallest tumors, in the hardest to reach places, with sub-millimeter precision. Each beam has a relatively low energy, so the radiation has virtually no effect on the healthy brain tissue it passes through. At the focal point, however, all the beams converge to deliver a high dose of radiation that kills the cancer cells, even in deep-seated tumors with irregular shapes.
“In Ms. McCue’s case, the machine’s sub-millimeter precision was the best option because it could protect critical visual structures for the patient,” said Dr. Johnson. “It was the best treatment for Ms. McCue because of its precision and very low integral dose, which was very important, considering where her tumor was and that it was so close to the optic nerve.”
Ms. McCue’s treatment lasted only about 30 minutes, compared to the same treatment with the former machine which would have lasted an hour and a half.
“Once the treatment started, we monitored the patient on a screen from the room next door, similar to what we would have done with the previous model,” said Dr. Johnson. “The main difference with the Perfexion is we never had to enter the room again until the treatment was complete. With the former technology, we would have stopped treatment to reposition the patient several times. But with Perfexion, all adjustments are made inside the machine, which streamlined the treatment time tremendously. The patient simply sat on the treatment couch and rotated into position with one easy move. The flexibility and breadth of options for altering the treatment beams are incredible and proved to be very fast compared to our former Gamma Knife machine. The Perfexion does it better and faster.”
As for the patient, Perfexion was very comfortable for her and she is already enjoying the results.
“At my age, I probably wouldn’t have considered invasive surgery to help with my vision because of the risks and long recovery that would have been involved,” said McCue. “But the Gamma Knife procedure was very quick and involved very little pain. I came home after surgery and celebrated with a steak dinner. I felt great the next day. I understand that it takes some time, but it’s only been a few days, and I can tell my vision continues to improve every day.”
Ms. McCue continued, “The staff and physicians at the Oncology center were wonderful. They went out of their way to make sure I was comfortable and well informed. We’re really so fortunate to have the wonderful doctors and this amazing technology right here in Thomasville.”