With the ability to deliver a non-invasive but highly accurate therapeutic dose of radiation to the brain with Gamma Knife, Archbold Memorial Hospital has transformed treatment for patients across the region with brain disorders and cancer metastases (cancer that has traveled to the brain from elsewhere in the body) for the last 12 years.
Using this state-of-the-art radiosurgery equipment, the Gamma Knife team has successfully treated over 900 patients since the hospital acquired the equipment through the generosity of Archbold Foundation donors in 2003.
Soon, Archbold’s Gamma Knife team will welcome technology that is expected to redefine excellence in stereotactic radiosurgery in the South Georgia/North Florida region—again.
The Gamma Knife Perfexion™, a technology that has been referred to as the “gold standard” treatment for radiosurgery of the brain, will be available to patients in Thomasville later this fall. Archbold is one of only 275 hospitals worldwide to acquire Gamma Knife. And Archbold is the only hospital in the region with Gamma Knife Perfexion™ technology—the latest and most precise radiosurgery technology to hit the market.
The Gamma Knife Perfexion™ functions similar to earlier models in that there is actually not a knife, in the normal sense of the word. One major advantage of the Perfexion™ is the revolutionary new positioning system that wraps doses of radiation around the most complex shapes of brain malformations and disorders.
“The system precisely targets even the smallest tumors with sub-millimeter precision,” said Archbold radiation oncologist Steve Johnson, MD. “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.”
Archbold physicans say the new technology offers unparalleled advantages for patients.
“The Gamma Knife Perfexion has the potential to treat a broader array of conditions, mainly because the machine can now deliver radiation as far down as the seventh cervical vertebra, compared to the second cervical vertebra previously,” said Archbold neurosurgeon Gerald Kadis, MD.
New conditions that can be treated with the Perfexion include spinal tumors, tumors at the base of the skull, certain head and neck cancers, and spinal arteriovenous malformations. The new Gamma Knife Perfexion system may also be able to provide leading-edge treatment for multiple metastatic tumors in a single treatment session.
In addition, the precision, automation and reliability of the technology are unmatched.
“The main difference between the Perfexion™ and the former Gamma Knife model is in the automation,” said Dr. Kadis. “Just like the former technology, we don’t make an incision in the patient’s head at all. That hasn’t changed. But with the new design and automation of the Perfexion™, we can access much harder to reach places in the brain.”
The advancements in Perfexion™ make the whole radiosurgery process even more streamlined.
“There is a vastly improved capability to treat multiple lesions in a single session due to the system’s special beam shaping technology,” said Craig Fredericks, MD, Archbold neurosurgeon. “The Gamma Knife is non-invasive, so patients that are candidates for this type procedure have much quicker recoveries, compared to those who have open surgery. And now that we can treat multiple lesions at one time, we can help patients with very complicated cases using this technology.”
"The main difference between the Perfexion and older models of the Gamma Knife is a new configuration of the cobalt-60 radiation sources relative to the gamma ray beam shaping collimation system," said David Saunders, MD, Archbold radiation oncologist. "This improvement has increased the treatment volume range. We can now treat targets that were previously unreachable. When combined with the Perfexion’s superior software planning system, a treatment plan can now be generated and executed much more efficiently thereby decreasing the overall treatment time for both patient and physicians."
“We have had amazing success with the original Gamma Knife technology for the past 12 years,” said Dr. Johnson. “And the Perfexion™ will help us continue with that tradition, but also allow us to take our Gamma Knife program to the next level. With Perfexion™, we can provide treatment for patients with even more complicated cases, who otherwise might not have had any treatment options at all. We’re very excited to have access to this new technology, and we’re proud to offer our patients the most advanced and precise radiosurgery technology available.”
The installation of the new Gamma Knife Perfexion™ will begin in September at the Gamma Knife Center at Archbold’s Singletary Oncology Center. The technology will be available for treatment of patients in early October.
Archbold remains one of only four hospitals in Georgia to have Gamma Knife technology, and the only hospital with Gamma Knife south of Augusta in Georgia and in Florida’s Big Bend Region.