When we set out to open The Gamma Knife Center here at The Valley Hospital, we knew this advanced technology had the potential to make a huge impact on our community. And we’re proud to say, less than two weeks after the center’s opening, the effects are already being felt. We’ve seen the first wave of patients here at The Gamma Knife Center and treated a variety of conditions, including multiple brain metastases, trigeminal neuralgia, vestibular schwannoma and meningioma. Depending on the condition, treatment times ranged from about 20 minutes to an hour—a small time investment for what will prove to be a life-changer for many.
For patients with multiple brain metastases—or cancer that started elsewhere in the body and spread to the brain—typical treatment would involve palliative whole brain radiation therapy. While this treatment can save lives, it’s not as targeted as Gamma Knife, so it has the potential to negatively impact quality of life, including significant damage to cognitive function, such as memory and language. Our patients were able to avoid these risks with the single-session Gamma Knife treatment at our Center. Gamma Knife patients are also able to immediately start any necessary systemic chemotherapy treatments, unlike with whole brain radiation, and studies have shown better outcomes than those treated with whole brain radiation.
One patient we treated for vestibular schwannoma—a type of noncancerous tumor that causes problems with hearing and balance—would normally have had to undergo surgery, which carries a risk of surgical complications such as hearing loss and facial nerve weakness and requires a three- to five-day hospital stay. With treatment at The Gamma Knife Center, the risk of complications was reduced and the patient was home by lunchtime. No further treatment should be necessary, and the prognosis is excellent.
These are just some examples of the types of patients we’re able to treat; many more will be able to benefit from this alternative to standard treatment. We look forward to the positive impact it will have on our community for years to come.