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For our colleagues:  Gamma Knife overview video

Gamma Knife® Stereotactic Radiosurgery

Medicare-approved, safe, effective, non-invasive treatment for patients with benign and malignant brain tumors or vascular and functional disorders of the brain.

Gamma Knife offers hope to patients with tumors formerly considered inoperable and those considered high-risk for open surgical procedures due to illness, advanced age, or other medical conditions. Patients may be eligible for Gamma Knife even if they previously had open brain surgery, radiation or chemotherapy, or embolization for arteriovenous malformations (AVM).

South Sound Gamma Knife physicians presented local results at the 16th International Meeting of the Leksell Gamma Knife® Society, March 2012, in Sidney, Australia:

About the Leksell Gamma Knife® Perfexion™

Perfexion™, the first full redesign of the Gamma Knife in 30 years

Perfexion™, the first full redesign of the Gamma Knife in 30 years

South Sound Gamma Knife uses the latest Gamma Knife technology for even greater precision to reduce or eliminate tumors or lesions in the brain without traditional surgery.

The first full redesign of the Gamma Knife in 30 years, Perfexion focuses 192 converging beams of high-dose Cobalt60 generated photons on a computer-mapped focal point. Extreme precision, with total radiological accuracy of better than 0.5mm, makes it possible to administer a high radiation dose to the lesion with minimal risk of damaging healthy tissue. A study of 189 installed systems, based on 332 commissioning protocols, proved an average level of radiological accuracy of 0.15mm. Patients receive local anesthesia and remain awake for the procedure, experiencing little discomfort. They are typically discharged the same day and resume normal activities within 48 hours.

Gamma Knife remains the gold standard for intracranial surgery. Perfexion improves accuracy (Neurosurg Focus 23(6):E6 2007), reduces radiation outside the treatment area (Med Physics 33:1770-9 2006), provides full cranial reach and lessens treatment time for a more comfortable patient experience. Results are shown to be comparable or superior to conventional neurosurgery (depending on the treated condition).

In this section:

Common indications for Gamma Knife

  • Metastatic tumors within the head originating from a primary site elsewhere in the body
  • Malignant or benign tumors originating within the brain or its coverings, including gliomas, meningiomas, pituitary and pineal tumors, acoustic neuromas, and others
  • AVMs and other vascular disorders of the brain
  • Trigeminal neuralgia
  • Movement disorders such as essential tremor in patients who are not candidates for deep brain stimulation


Treatment day side effects may include headache after removal of the head frame or mild nausea; both can be relieved with medication. Uncommon, delayed complications may include injury to surrounding brain and edema, which are reversible with proper treatment. Other rare complications are dependent on diagnosis and discussed with the patient during evaluation. There is a small risk of radiation-induced damage to surrounding tissues.

Insurance coverage

Gamma Knife procedures are covered by most medical insurance plans. Prior authorization is required and limited to specific diagnostic reasons. South Sound Gamma Knife at St Joseph’s will pre-authorize the procedure with your patient’s insurance carrier.


South Sound Gamma Knife at St. Joseph
1802 S. Yakima, Suite 103, Tacoma, WA 98405
Phone: 253-284-2438
Toll free: 1-866-254-3353
Fax: 253-272-7054