As you are learning more about your upcoming Gamma Knife procedure, you may have come across two different treatment systems: the Leksell Icon and the Leksell Perfexion. To help you understand why NJ Gamma Knife specialists are preferring one over the other, the following information will cover some of the details of Gamma Knife in general and the differences between the two systems, highlighting the benefits of each.
Taking the time to learn more about your condition and treatment options, including the terminology commonly used, can be a great way to become more familiar with the entire treatment process. Simply knowing what to expect along the way can help set your mind at ease, allowing you to focus your attention elsewhere, like preparing for your recovery.
About Gamma Knife Technology
Gamma Knife is a form of stereotactic radiosurgery, an advanced form of radiation therapy available to patients in the northern NJ area.
Though it sounds like a surgical procedure, Gamma Knife is noninvasive and does not involve a scalpel or incision. It takes place in an outpatient setting at a hospital or Gamma Knife center, but you will not need to stay overnight and will be awake during the entire procedure. The actual procedure takes 15-60 minutes, and many patients only require a single treatment session.
As far as the actual technology, Gamma Knife uses multiple beams of radiation to target a highly focused area at one time. This allows for precise treatment of only the target area using a high dose of radiation while sparing the healthy surrounding tissues. As a result, side effects are typically mild and transient, particularly when compared to other radiation treatments, such as whole-brain radiation therapy.
The Difference Between Icon and Perfexion
Both the Icon and the Perfexion are Gamma Knife technologies developed by Leksell, the originator of stereotactic radiosurgery. While they both are used to perform Gamma Knife treatment, they do differ somewhat in how they work and the benefits offered to you as a patient. This is because the Perfexion system was designed and released first, and the Icon is essentially the “new and improved” version and the next generation of the Leksell technology.
Benefits of Perfexion
To understand the benefits of the Icon system, it is useful to understand its predecessor, the Perfexion, and the benefits it already offers to patients. The Perfexion introduced improvements that shortened treatment time and provided shielding from radiation up to 100 times better than alternative technologies. The accuracy of the Perfexion system is also guaranteed to be within just 0.50 mm, though studies have demonstrated actual clinical accuracy consistently of 0.15 mm — approximately the width of just two human hairs.
Benefits of Icon
The Leksell Icon has taken a great treatment option and made it even better, building on the Perfexion system that has been the gold standard in stereotactic radiosurgery since 2006. These innovations improve the patient experience, allow for new treatment methods and increase the guaranteed precision to 0.15 mm, making it the preferred option for NJ Gamma Knife specialists.
As a patient, one benefit of the Icon that you will experience directly is the option to undergo treatment without a headframe. While not every patient will be a candidate, you may be able to wear a custom face mask, as opposed to the more rigid head frame, to ensure you remain in a stable position throughout your treatment.
A second benefit of the Icon system is the flexibility now offered to your doctor in designing your treatment. The Icon system still uses approximately 200 individual beams of radiation to target the area of interest directly, and with increased precision. However, your doctor now has the option of delivering a single, large dose to treat your condition or using multiple smaller doses in an approach called fractionated radiotherapy.
Experts in NJ Choose the Leksell Icon
Because of the improved flexibility and increased precision, NJ Gamma Knife specialists are able to use the Leksell Icon system to treat more conditions and more patients than ever. Whether you are scheduled for single-dose radiosurgery or fractionated radiosurgery, your doctor will be able to do both using the Icon.
If you do not have your appointment scheduled yet and are interested in the Leksell Icon for your Gamma Knife procedure, you should be able to find an NJ Gamma Knife specialist able to discuss your individual condition with you. If you already have a treatment date and are unsure of which Gamma Knife system your doctor will be using, simply bring it up at your next appointment.
Continue to take the extra time to learn more about your treatment options and your condition. Playing an active role in your care throughout this process helps you keep aware of what’s coming up next, helping you prepare mentally and physically for each step of the way.