Macquarie University Hospital begins brain surgery with the continent’s first intracranial radiosurgery systemAtlanta and Sydney Australia — Thursday, August 19, 2010
On August 3, Macquarie University Hospital (MUH) performed Australia’s first Gamma Knife® surgery with its new Leksell Gamma Knife® Perfexion™ system, making it the country’s first and only center capable of providing dedicated intracranial radiosurgery. MUH and the Australian School of Advanced Medicine (ASAM) partnered with Genesis Care, Australia’s leading provider of cancer management services, to procure the system, which is located in Genesis Care’s radiation therapy department at MUH.
MUH’s first radiosurgery patient , a 33-year-old man with multiple small brain tumors, underwent a 100-minute Gamma Knife surgery treatment and was able to return home the same day, according to John Fuller, M.D., Macquarie neurosurgeon and Gamma Knife program co-director.
"He was awake during the whole procedure and received only a local anesthetic,” Dr. Fuller reports. “The gentleness of Gamma Knife surgery not only benefits patients, but also extends to their families, our treatment team and the healthcare system as a whole.”
Gamma Knife radiosurgery is a patient friendlier alternative to traditional brain surgery for illnesses such as metastatic disease, which is cancer that has travelled to the brain from elsewhere in the body. With pinpoint accuracy, the system delivers up to thousands of low-intensity radiation beams to one or more targets in a single session. Perfexion, the latest generation Gamma Knife model, provides even greater speed and ease of use than previous models.
“The Perfexion improvements enable greater ability to treat multiple targets in a single session, and Gamma Knife retains its status as intracranial gold standard,” says Professor Michael K. Morgan, M.D., cerebrovascular neurosurgeon and Gamma Knife program co-director with Dr. Fuller.
Patient safety and treatment efficiency are key advantages of Gamma Knife Perfexion, Dr. Fuller adds. “Patient protection is significantly better with Gamma Knife compared with other radiosurgery units, such as CyberKnife® or linear accelerator-based systems, which—while targeting brain lesions—also expose the patient to a substantial extracranial dose,” he says.
Gamma Knife surgery schedule to fill up fast
MUH physicians, who are currently evaluating referrals for Gamma Knife surgery, anticipate treating 500 patients per year. Treatment of single and multiple metastases and skull base tumors will be important indications at MUH, though referrals suggest a wide spectrum of targets for which clinicians have used Gamma Knife.
“At the recent Leksell Gamma Knife Society meeting there was more evidence suggesting that treating multiple metastases with Gamma Knife versus whole brain irradiation had much better results from the standpoint of the patient’s neurocognitive health,” Dr. Fuller says. “I think that is what we will find.”
Gamma Knife surgery promises a more elegant, brain-friendly approach to treating skull base tumors, he adds. “The morbidity associated with skull base surgery can be significant.”
Building a world class center
“Our aim is to provide world class care under the philosophy that patients’ needs must always come first,” Prof. Morgan says. “So, we need to link excellence in research and education with technologically cutting edge equipment. Gamma Knife is proven to be at the forefront and the gold standard of care, so it fits well with our goals.”
“Macquarie will have Australia’s number one neuro-oncology program,” adds Genesis Care CEO Dan Collins, “combining surgeons, medical and radiation oncologists with the best equipment to deliver comprehensive care.”
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