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Long Island Gamma Knife® Perfexion™ at South Nassau Communities Hospital Can Treat Multiple Brain Metastases in One Session

Posted: Jun. 24, 2014

The Long Island Gamma Knife® at South Nassau Communities Hospital, which has been upgraded to the Perfexion, the latest advancement in Gamma Knife technology, offers significant advantages over whole brain radiation therapy (WBRT) for patients whose cancer has metastasized to their brain. The Gamma Knife center at South Nassau is Long Island’s most experienced, and is led by two of the region’s top experts in treating brain tumors and other neurological disorders. Co-Medical Directors are Michael H. Brisman, M.D., F.A.C.S., who is also an attending neurosurgeon with the Neurological Surgery, P.C. private practice, and radiation oncologist Edward E. Mullen, M.D., Director of Radiation Oncology at South Nassau Communities Hospital.

“While the earlier version of the Gamma Knife offered major advantages over whole brain irradiation, the speed and accuracy of the Perfexion system are unparalleled,” said Dr. Brisman. “Up to ten metastases can be treated during one session, saving the patient precious time and avoiding delays in starting chemotherapy that can occur if multiple whole brain radiation treatments are required.”

“The Gamma Knife offers the distinct advantage of being able to precisely target brain metastases,” said Dr. Mullen. “This reduces the likelihood of damage to surrounding tissue, and helps prevent side effects like memory loss and learning difficulties, which often occur with whole brain radiation therapy.”

Despite its name, the Gamma Knife is not an actual knife, but a stereotactic radiosurgery device that has become a well-accepted standard of care for the minimally invasive treatment of inaccessible or inoperable brain abnormalities. Unlike traditional open surgery, Gamma Knife radiosurgery involves no incision; it works by harnessing the power generated by 192 cobalt-60 radiation beams, converged on a precise target area of the brain. At the site where the beams converge, enough radiation is generated to ionize and destroy a tumor or lesion deep within the brain. The beams are focused with such precision that radiation is delivered only to the target, sparing surrounding healthy tissue, blood vessels and nerves. Multiple lesions or tumors can typically be treated in a single session.

There is no bleeding, no risk of infection, and no lengthy hospital stay following treatment. Most patients can return to their normal daily activities the day after Gamma Knife surgery. The Gamma Knife is backed by 30 years of clinical experience. It has been used by more than 600,000 patients worldwide. Results have been documented in more than 3,000 peer-reviewed scientific papers.

“The Gamma Knife shows good control of brain metastases, which means prolonged life with fewer long-term effects from treatment, and an improved quality of life,” said Dr. Brisman.

Studies suggest that stereotactic radiosurgery has better clinical outcomes than whole brain radiation therapy alone. The Gamma Knife has been shown to provide 80-90% control of tumor growth in brain metastases, following one treatment session.

“No other technology has the ability to treat multiple targets in the brain with the same clinical outcome and speed as the Gamma Knife Perfexion,” said Dr. Mullen. “We are fortunate that our patients have access to this advanced technology.”

In the past, whole brain radiation therapy was the most widely used method of treating brain metastases, despite the fact that patients treated this way had an expected survival of only three to four months. Research has shown that WBRT does not prevent the later onset of remote metastases in other brain locations. Significant damage to healthy brain tissue is common with the use of WBRT. For those surviving longer periods following WBRT, the development of severe radiation-induced dementia and other neurological problems such as memory loss, speech impairments and eyesight loss frequently occur.

The Gamma Knife also effectively treats other neurological disorders, such as benign brain tumors, pituitary tumors, primary malignant brain tumors, brain arteriovenous malformations (AVMs), trigeminal neuralgia and acoustic neuromas.

Since opening in 2002, Long Island Gamma Knife at South Nassau Communities Hospital has treated more than 1,500 patients. The center also offers Long Island’s only Novalis TX™ radiosurgery platform with SmartArc™ technology. This non-invasive radiosurgical procedure provides pinpoint accuracy in the treatment of a wide range of malignancies and other ?potentially debilitating conditions, without harming nearby healthy tissue.

About Neurological Surgery, P.C. - Neurological Surgery, P.C. is one of the New York City area’s premier neurosurgical groups, offering patients the most advanced treatments of brain and spine disorders. These include minimally invasive procedures such as stereotactic radiosurgery (Gamma Knife®, CyberKnife® and Novalis Tx®), aneurysm coiling, neuro-endoscopy, spinal stimulators, carotid stents, interventional pain management, microdiscectomy, kyphoplasty, and other types of minimally invasive spine surgery. The practice’s physicians represent a range of surgical and nonsurgical specialties, combining compassionate care with highly specialized training. They are leaders in the region’s medical community, with appointments as chiefs of neurosurgery in some of Long Island’s best hospitals. NSPC offers 10 convenient locations in Nassau and Suffolk Counties, as well as in Queens and Manhattan. For more information, call 1-800-775-7784 or visit www.NSPC.com.