How Gamma Knife saves lives

A modern, non-invasive procedure for brain disorders has been helping doctors treat patients suffering from certain brain disorders. The procedure uses a Gamma Knife machine, a unique tool for treating lesions and tumors in the brain without any incisions.
All over the world, the Gamma Knife procedure has treated more than a hundred thousand people who suffered from tumors or malformations in the brain. In 1997, the Philippine Gamma Knife Center made this treatment available in the country.
Neurosurgeon Theodor Vesagas, MD, of Philippine Gamma Knife Center explains that the Gamma Knife is especially useful in treating lesions in the brain that are difficult to remove via traditional open surgery.
“Gamma Knife is primarily used in treating tumors as well as vascular disorders of the brain. Compared to traditional neurosurgery, it reduces health risk and is cost effective and more convenient for patients,” Dr. Vesagas related.
 Bloodless, painless procedure
The Gamma Knife releases a safe dose of gamma radiation to target brain tumors and lesions. Neurosurgeons plan and set the exact dosage of gamma radiation and location parameters for the Gamma Knife treatment. During the actual surgery, the patient lies down on the couch attached to the Gamma Knife machine. Then, 201 beams of gamma radiation target the lesion to reduce it in size and, eventually, dissolve it.
Dr. Vesagas shares that the tissue being treated are the only parts that receives gamma radiation—released at a dose that is safe for humans—so the other areas of the brain are unaffected during the surgery.
“The exposure to radiation is brief so the surrounding tissues remain unharmed,” he added.
And since no incision is made, Gamma Knife reduces the risk of surgical complications and eliminates the dangers and side effects of general anesthesia. This means that the patient does not experience any infection, hemorrhage, or spinal fluid leakage.
 Gamma Knife in the Philippines
Here in the Philippines, Gamma Knife is only offered by the Philippine Gamma Knife Center, located at Cardinal Santos Medical Center compound. The doctors who perform the treatment trained in Sweden where the equipment is also produced.
“It is important for Filipinos to know their options when it comes to treating brain tumors. Although not everyone can be a candidate for Gamma Knife, we want people to be informed about this kind of procedure that is very convenient, safe, and cost effective,” said Dr. Monserrat Velasquez.
Philippine Gamma Knife Center reports that almost 95 percent of its patients have shown growth arrest, reduction in size or complete eradication of lesions after the Gamma Knife treatment.
For more information on the Leksell Gamma Knife treatment, you may visit the PGKC offices at the Cardinal Santos Medical Center compound or call 7259254, 7237575, and 7260776.