Gamma Knife

Gamma Knife Radiosurgery

When it comes to treating brain metastases and neurological disorders, doctors and staff at OSF HealthCare Illinois Neurological Institute (OSF INI) recognize that time is crucial. That’s why our Gamma Knife Center offers rapid consultation by a group of physicians dedicated to comprehensive, individualized and compassionate care. Each patient receives treatment that is precisely tailored to his or her individual needs, which may include Gamma Knife radiosurgery, another form of surgery, or radiotherapy.

Gamma Knife radiosurgery at OSF INI is typically performed as an outpatient procedure. Once a patient's case is reviewed by our Gamma Knife Team and approved as appropriate, the patient is scheduled for treatment.

When a patient arrives at the Gamma Knife Center, treatment consists of four steps:

  1. Frame Placement: A lightweight frame is placed on the patient’s head using local anesthesia and remains there throughout treatment. The frame is needed as a reference point during treatment planning, and holds the head in the exact position required for precise treatment.
  2. Imaging and Treatment Planning: Next, MRI, CT scans or angiography is used to obtain images that clearly define where the tumor, AVM or treatment site is located. The detailed treatment plan they create determines the length of treatment. A typical Gamma Knife treatment plan takes one to two hours to complete.
  3. Treatment: After treatment planning is complete, the patient is transferred to the Gamma Knife treatment couch, where treatment is delivered. Radiosurgery is painless and typically lasts one to several hours. The patient remains awake and can communicate with the treatment team or listen to music.
  4. After Treatment: When the treatment is complete, the patient is taken out of the machine and the head frame is removed. Most patients are observed for a period of time and then released.

Gamma Knife treatment is the most established radiosurgical method. It is the standard against which all other radiosurgery methods are measured. Over 2,500 peer-reviewed clinical articles support its use to treat a variety of brain conditions. It has been in use for more than 40 years, with more than 500,000 patients treated worldwide. The PerfexionTM system also boasts new radiation-shielding levels that are up to 100 times better than alternative technologies, and is a fully automated system that makes the treatment process quick and seamless.

Most major medical insurance covers Gamma Knife treatment, including Medicare.