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Gamma Knife Treatment Now Available at Avera Cancer

May 27, 2016 09:45AM ● By MED Magazine

Avera Cancer Institute Sioux Falls is now offering treatment for brain tumors with the a precision radiation therapy tool called the Elekta Gamma Knife Perfexion. The gamma knife allows for the delivery of the highest therapeutic doses to the smallest treatable tumors and is considered the gold standard for non-invasive treatment of brain disorders.


In addition to its precision, the gamma knife has the added advantage of shorter treatment. As opposed to other forms of radiation treatment, which may require multiple treatments over the course of three to six weeks, Gamma Knife is a one-time treatment. Patients can go home the same day as the procedure. Most experience few, if any, side effects.  


Common uses include treatment for cancerous brain tumors, cancer in the brain that has spread from another location, non-cancerous lesions or neurological conditions such as arteriovenous malformations and trigeminal neuralgia, and in circumstances in which traditional surgery isn’t an option due to health concerns or critical location.


“The primary treatment of most intracranial disease (brain tumors and lesions) is still surgery,” said Radiation Oncologist James Simon, MD. “Unfortunately, not all tumors or cancerous lesions can be safely removed without causing long-term side effects to the brain. In these situations, an equally effective alternative therapy is critical.”


Gamma knife’s ability to shrink tumors can also make it a valuable tool when the goal is to improve quality of life; it can be used to minimize the size of the tumor and reduce damage to critical brain functions, explains Neurosurgeon Wissam Asfahani, MD. “With the gamma knife, we’re able to control the disease as much as possible,” he said.


Previously, people in the Sioux Falls region and anywhere in the Dakotas had to choose between Rochester, Minnesota or Omaha, for this specialized level of care. Avera began offering the gamma knife treatment to patients in May.